How To Talk To Family About Selling Their Home, Car, Boat Or Other Assets

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How To Talk To Family About Selling Their Home, Car, Boat Or Other Assets

Senior couple listens to a saleswoman or financial consultant in their home.

Throughout our lifetimes, we accumulate a variety of possessions, starting off with small items and then working our way up to cars, a home and other larger ‘just for fun’ or investment items including boats, bikes and second homes. Though these items can serve us well through the years, sometimes there comes a point in life where, these items can be sold in order to pay for the start of or ongoing care in our elder years. For some, this is an easy concept to entertain and accept while for others it can be troubling and difficult. In order to make the process easier for everyone involved, we’ve compiled a short guide on how to talk to family members about selling their home, car, boat and other assets.

Why Should the Elderly Sell Their Home

Many elderly individuals find that at some point or another they need or want to give up some of their possessions and/or home in order to pay for medical expenses, assisted living or a skilled nursing facility. Often, a home’s value has increased over the years, allowing the individual to make money off of the sale that will help pay for medical expenses for a longer period of time before Medicaid benefits are needed.

Why Should Other Assets Be Sold

Along with a first or second home, other assets can hold some monetary value as well, including cars, boats, bikes and the like. These assets can also be sold to help pay for medical care, and often need to be. Even if they aren’t sold to pay for a assisted living or skilled nursing, they can help finance in home care if the individual is still well enough to live at home.

How to Talk To Elderly Family Members About Selling Their Possessions

Generally speaking, there are a few key reasons why elderly individuals in need of care should start the process of selling their home and/or other assets. Those reasons include moving into a retirement community, assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Or perhaps, moving into a loved one’s home for care or simply staying in the same home and having in-home care. Though these reasons may be simple to outline, they can be difficult to execute, with the first step being the act of convincing your older loved ones and family members that this is in fact, the best option.

For all of us, some items hold extreme value while others don’t, and it’s best to keep in mind which is which when approaching the topic of selling. Deciding to get rid of things that have been cared for and loved for years isn’t an easy task, and strong emotions should be expected throughout the entire process.

The best way to approach the topic is to first get a handle on what the individual places the most value on. This allows you to figure out what items to sell first, helping to ease the transition of having lots of processions to having fewer. Once the smaller or least valued items have been sold, then you can work your way to the larger and more valuable items, often being a home or various modes of personal transportation. This is when emotions tend to run high. Although it is impossible to not be stressed at all during these conversations, it is important not to yell, scream or show irritation toward the loved one who is having to part with these items. Keep in mind that you’re asking them to part with important aspects of their lives, and that is not easy. A few things that you can do to help smooth the process are:

• Allow the individual to pick a few smaller items that they can take with them if they are moving.
• Create a photo album of the home or other large possessions (car, etc..) that they can take keep, tell stories about and enjoy.
• If all of the items don’t need to be sold right away, sell a few at a time, allowing the person to get used to the idea and therefore feel less pushed and pressured into it.

Perhaps the most important thing to do is to remain positive and supportive throughout the entire process. Though you may get angry and annoyed at their rebuttals, make sure to take the time to listen to their reasoning and answers before responding. In some cases, elderly individuals know that the right decision is to sell their items but are scared to do so. This is where a little kindness, understanding and support can go a long way. The more at ease they are with the situation, the better it will go for everyone involved.

At, we are dedicated to helping you and your family ease the search for just the right In-Home Care provider, community, product or service! For more information and to use our Search, Sort and Match ™ tool, please visit our website or call us at 877-243-8073.

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