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Just read the question about inlaws being house poor, but won’t consider selling. Seems there’s a constant theme on aging care of seniors refusing to leave their houses. So their families scramble, people move in with the senior, all kinds of hired help, many props put in place, any and everything to avoid the dreaded move. In my personal situation, my dad is beyond physically frail, barely hanging onto walking using a rollator. He’s mentally sharp though, and despite the repeated advice, he’s in his home alone at his insistence. We’ve done all possible to make it safe, knowing it’s really not. His fear of change far outweighs his fear of being injured in his home. He sees moving as “giving up” and “selling out” I tell him it’s choosing something different, but it’ll always be giving up to him. So we wait for the event that we know is coming, something that’ll either end his life or force his hand on moving.
There’s a verse that says not to have treasures on earth where they rot, yet there is this persistent almost worship of the house. I get that many are of the depression era, as is my dad, and having a paid for home means a lot. But the degree to which seniors will persist in staying, alienating family, putting themselves at risk is unreal, all for a house. I hope we all won’t be this way as we age. I hope we’ll have flexibility about where and how we live. I hope we’ll be willing to get rid of stuff and realize we all die and it’s just stuff and a home can be anywhere....

I notice if there is a husband and wife, one will want to downsize into something more manageable, and the other spouse refuses to move. It was that way with my own parents who were in their 90's and still living in a house with a lot of stairs.

My Dad was getting tired of the "honey-do" lists. In the past he would love fixing things but as he aged, climbing ladders were becoming scary, squatting down to fix something meant trouble trying to stand back up, etc.

It wasn't until my Mom had passed that I really understood why she didn't want to move. She had lost most of her eye sight to macular degeneration, thus she knew her way around their house and knew were everything was. We couldn't touch anything in the kitchen or move stuff in the refrigerator, because her mind had the blueprint of all items in the cabinets and refrigerator. If only she would have told Dad and I the reason for not moving.

Thus, even through I am ready to look for a smaller place and the fact that the stairs are starting to feel unfriendly, I am waiting it out because I have an elderly cat who is almost totally blind. He knows his way around this house. It wouldn't be fair to move him into something new.

Now, if only I could get sig other to go through the moving boxes he never had opened since his move here 16 years age :P
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I keep putting stuff in boxes to give away to the church sale and hubby keeps rescuing it.... (lol)
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If you leave you get to stare mortality in the face. It may not seem like that to us, but to them.....
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DaughterOf1930, what a thoughtful post. You are absolutely right, it's a different way of thinking. Anyone who has taken an econ course knows that fair market value is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller. For our parents, a lot of extra factors go into that calculation! E.g., what we paid for it, how "nice" it is, how much utility or enjoyment we got out of it, who gave it to us. I did a funny dance with my mother when she moved to assisted living. She would put the electric knife sharpener into the car, I would take it out. In. Out. Mom. I have never seen you use that. You're moving to a place with a kitchenette. Lordy!
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Can’t help it. Stuff!!!! Well !!!!! Let’s see.

1. Been wanting to experiment with a vinyl apron for my wife so her spills didn’t soak thru. Even Walmart price + shipping was insane just for an experiment. I knew there was an old shower curtain out there cause I changed it a couple 3-4 years ago. So last week I cut an apron out of it, folded and stapled a catch pocket into it, piece of rope for a neck strap and a couple bull nose clips on the back strap. Vinyl Apron. Works just fine (she likes it) and there’s enough material left for 1 or 2 more. 

2. Just yesterday I spied a big bulge in one of the washing machine hoses. If that let go the disaster would be humongous. Well we replaced the washer in 2002 so I of course kept the old hoses. Wouldn’t you? Took about an hour altogether to fix because the current hose fittings were stuck, and back in business. 

3. My Dad got rid of a lot of stuff so we wouldn’t think he was a hoarder. Some we wished he’d kept.

4. My Mom was not a hoarder but more a collector. I had professionals do the estate sale which by todays value brought in about $80K. ($78,921.78) Her house was clean and uncluttered; the pros were impressed. There was an old 2’ X 6’ rug I stood on as a child to get dressed cold mornings - $1000.00!!!!

5. Just stuff? :-) :-)
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It's al, just Stuff really, just prioritize what's Really important to You!
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You guys just don’t understand. I built a shed for my stuff so the house and garage wouldn’t be cluttered (hate clutter - a place for everything and everything in it’s place) then doubled its size then built another one plus converted the 2 compost bins into mini sheds. It’s good stuff. What to keep? What not to keep? Get rid of it? Good grief no! Never can tell. Might need it someday. What if I have to fix something? 

Cheers :-)
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Midkid, I totally feel ya! I thought that this would be our "forever" home too, it's certainly not big at about 1800sqf, and all on one level, with a managable sized yard, but we have found that we really only "live in about 1/2 of that, our livingroom/diningroom is barely touched, except for holidays and big family dinners, which our kids are now taking on more and more.

We don't have the really inclement weather very often here in the PNW, so the 2 car garage only houses my husbands sports car, and the rest is taken up by years worth of "collections", now pared down to a managable size, hopefully!

We could have stayed on here forever, and hired our the maintanance and yard and garden work, but I know that would have driven my husband crazy, going against his grain of Mr Fixit, and the "collections" would have continued to grow and take over. We Needed this Change!

Now we know and desire, that limited space and the needless spending on all of that crap will be put to better use, getting out in the world traveling and enjoying ourselves, something that we had forgotten how to do, and being Unable to do since being tethered down here all these years by hubby's elderly Father.

I'm really ready to be away from this house, where his Dad died, and begin life anew, to really start enjoying ourselves again, just as we have prepared and had always planned to do.

Oh, another thing we Really will need in our next place is a garage, to house his car we have had since 89', and have planned to enjoy in our retirement, unfortunately I took on a tiny 5# Chihuahua/Maltese pup 5 years ago, she is now firmly attached to my hip, and is as pickiy an eater as all get out! Yes, I have created a Monster, who I could not, would not fathom leaving in the care of anyone else, except maybe my daughter or one sister for a short amount of time, what was I thinking?! I do Love her Dearly though, and she is a Great Little Companion, My Charlie-girl!

I guess we need to accept that we cannot perfectly plan for Everything in life!
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We're enmeshed in the first step of "sideways sizing" I can't say "downsizing" b/c it's our starter home in which we have lived for 40 years!! is only 1800 sf. How we raised 5 kids in this tiny place still confounds me. It's a split entry and has a deck and attic stairs that are SOOOO steep. So in a given day, I walk up and/or down about 150+ steps. I'm recouping from a broken foot and that knee high boot clunking up and down the stairs has driven DH insane. He didn't realize how much time I spend going up and down all day until he HEARD me.

Also a single car garage that I don't get to park in? I got to shovel out more than a foot of snow last week after a huge snowstorm (yes, in the boot!)

DH has fought me tooth and nail over this move. He doesn't care where we live, He just comes in and eats dinner and goes to bed. He never goes downstairs and I do all the yard work, so the house layout has never bugged HIM.

We're doing a rambler style with a basement that will originally serve as a place for the teen-grandkids to hang out in, and eventually, caregivers will live there. We'll live in the upstairs and have a large common meeting area (big family) and big kitchen. Also a jetted tub for hubby and a soundproof TV room for him. (I hate TV and he LOVES it--so what do you do? Compromise.)

We have this house paid off, and our SIL is a realtor and knows our needs, so hopefully in a year we will begin the actual process of buying/selling.

Yes, so many, many memories of this little house--but memories go with you. We brought 4 babies home to this house, we had 40 Christmases here--basically, we had a life here--but we don't want to be a burden in any way to the kids, so the move will incorporate a lot of "helps"--grab bars in the bathroom, only one set of stairs....I watched my parents age out of their place and I want it to not be like that!!!

I'm purging and purging and getting rid of 50% of our stuff. In a home this small, we still have too much. Mother is a hoarder and I am terrified of becoming that way. Dh is not on board, so I am doing this alone.

And yes, I was raised with the mentality that you paid off your house and stayed forever.
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Congrats Stacey, on getting it right! Your children will be so glad you’ve made this move! We’ve already downsized once and will do it again I’m sure. I actually love the feeling of taking stuff to a donation place, less is more!
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I thought that when my parents sold the Family home that I grew up in, right after my Dad took his retirement, that it would be Awful, but soon realized (after the huge purging and downsizing of course) that home was where my parents were living, in their new view apartment, and they Loved it!

Then after my Dad was diagnosed with PSP, and my Moms arthritis in her knees became too bad to go up the 10 or so steps up the the elevator, they downsized again, this time to the MIL off of one of my sisters home, and after a small adjustment, it was home again too.

My husband and I both retired at 58 and 63, have just sold our (paid for) home of 28 years. This was our 2nd house together my "forever" home, the 1st was our "starter" home which we soon outgrew as a family of 6. We close on Feb 7th, with the intention on cashing out, and ironically moving to my sisters MIL apartment (LOL), until the perfect (albiet much smaller) Condo comes available to purchase, unfortunaltely it hasn'nt just yet, but theres no way we're buying something that isn't just perfect for us in our retirement.

Thankfully, our kids are all on board, all having homes and families of their own now, and they will will be perfectly happy to see us living confortably, in a much smaller place, the majority of the downsizing having already been done this once, although possibly not our last move in life, at least there will be no more major home repairs and upkeep, no more big yard to tend to, and we will be turnkey ready to go off and do as we like for the forseeable future anyways, and I for one am Extremly excited for the future for a change!

Some may not know it, but for Many, Many years, my husband and I (along with my 5 siblings took good care of my parents until they passed, and his parents too (with no help from his siblings), and we also housed his Dad in our home for 13+ years until he passed away while in Hospice in our home from Lung Cancer in Oct of 2017. It will be a relief to be finished with this home, and put that gloomy past behind us, and after raising our 4 kids to sucessful aduthood here in this home, I'd say we deserve it!

Its exciting to be moving forward at this junction of our lives, something smaller, more managible, low maintanance, and kick back and relax a while before having to think about the next (much smaller scale) move, but I tell ya its a Real Bi**h to clear out, donate and to pack up after living in a house for this long! Hmmmm.... I wonder if my sistess MIL apartment will be available the Next time we need it for an extended period of time? Lol!

My husband has been a real trooper since we signed the papers, and with only about 9 days to go til closing, he's got 85% of our worldly goods packed away into a storage unit, so we are well on our way. Whew, I'm looking forward to a damn Vacation!
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Mally- I think accumulation just happens especially after 25 years together, congrats on that time together(very uncommon in these times.
If he doesn't like the idea of a senior community, how about living in the travel trailer and move from place to place so you always have new scenery.
That is my dream retirement. :)
May God bless you as you are transitioning.
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Smeshique, I believe as you do, so how did I/we get so much stuff?(lol). Unfortunately, hubby is a great deal younger (we've been married over 25 years; it was a "God thing"), so he doesn't think an apartment in a senior community is a lovely idea, as I do.... oh well. We ARE getting rid of things, though it's not easy, is it? And most of our animals are quite old, so there will probably be fewer next winter, when we hope to take our travel trailer south for several months. The house will be much emptier by then, I hope, especially as though we are engaged right now in getting rid of a lot of mom's things, that she suddenly doesn't care about, we ourselves don't even HAVE any kids or other family to empty, clean, or sell our own property! Better "Git it Done", as they say around here....
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The verse is
Matthew 6:19
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

I just think it has to do with independence. How hard they may have worked to have a home. I do not think they mean to be difficult about it. They may think that we should understand. When I get home from anywhere, I think, (sigh) I am so glad to be home, there is no place like home. It is true. I am sure others enjoy their homes and are happy to be home at various times. This does not change because we age. As a matter of fact, as we age home becomes even more important to us. A safe place.
Now do not get me wrong I am not oblivious to the fact that some people are not safe in their homes. As a matter of fact I do not leave my mom here alone if I can help it, as she does not always make safe choices. I was just trying to point out that home is important to people, and its one thing that' theirs.
Now, the verse above is so true. All this stuff is meaningless. And truth be told I may not like it, but I would be ok anywhere because I know the Lord would be with me. And this temporary home or place of stay is just that, temporary. I look forward to my permanent home with Jesus.
Just my point of view.
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Amen! I am in the middle of cleaning out my mothers house of junk and things that she doesn't seem to care about anymore. 56 yrs of stuff...I have told her years ago that she needed to clean it out, but I think it just got to overwhelming for her. I refuse to grow old and frail in this big house. I seen what it was like for my patents and I have learned from their mistakes. I want to go somewhere warm with people to interact with.

I think we do need more and home friendly but affordable apartments for seniors.

And your right home is where you make it!

Just my 2 cents!
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I just visited a friend who is recuperating from a back injury. He and his wife have collected antiques for years. I was telling them I have started cleaning out my house. They said they are living that headache to the kids. I had this "headache" and it wasn't and still insn't any fun. I am retired which helps but my girls will only be in their 50s when I'm in my 80s and they definitely will be working. I am still trying to get rid of a house that is not selling and falling apart. My husband and I have been cleaning it out. 60 yrs of junk.

The Media doesn't help with telling our Seniors "You can stay in your own home". At what price. Instead of a reversed Mortgage how about selling a house you can no longer afford to keep up. Get a nice apartment in a independent living community where there are people and activities. Where there is help if needed.

Wish I had talked my Mom into selling. She could have gotten a nice apartment near her friends from Church. Easy to care for.

Personally, I want my girls to enjoy me not have to care for me.
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Spot on! I do not think they realize what a real burden it is to have to empty those houses that have 60+ years of collecting, sometimes hoarding, all of the problems related to delayed maintence. Truly, after donating, selling, and filling 4 20 yard dumpters, we hardly had the energy to clean and fix up. Six months past closing, I still feel emotionally whipped.

The last decade of my father's life was a living nightmare for us. If somehow, he would have agreed to assisted living when he started falling (at 90), the end outcomes would have been very different.
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Hi Daughterof1930. So true. I work in real estate and I see the mess left behind when the aging senior has to be moved out quickly or passes away. The kids are left scrambling and usually end up yard-saling much of the personal belongings and selling the house under-market in a hurry. I've seen abandoned hoarder houses as well as houses where someone had clearly lived alone with dementia and paranoia (screwing boards and such over windows and doors, from the inside, for no apparent reason). There needs to be more focus on building senior apartments for functioning seniors that are appealing and feel like "home". I too am just waiting as my mom refuses to move out of their old house, living there like nothing has changed when it ALL has changed, but every day she is one fall away from it all completely unraveling. The weight of my parents' "stuff" weighs heavily and I know the home will need repairs & maintenance that she is not taking care of.
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I think change gets exponentially harder as we age, especially if our world has shrunk to the point that our familiar and comforting homes and rituals are all we have. I have a plan to sell my house and move to a seniors friendly area when I'm 75, I've picked that age because I figure I'll still be physically and mentally up to the challenge of making changes.
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