Photo courtesy Jonathan Billinger

By Nancy Peham
Special Contributor

Nothing is guaranteed in life except death and taxes, and when we leave this world someone has to deal with — and sort — the physical things we leave behind.

While my mother was alive, she shared her worries that when she died her children would be torn apart by the process of dividing her belongings.  

I have been very fortunate to be one of four daughters who grew up in a close-knit family.  I know that’s not always the case among siblings, which can make the process of liquidating a parent’s belongings result in hurt feelings, claims of unfairness, and the rekindling of sibling rivalries.  In my family, just knowing that my mother feared a fracturing of relationships made us all work harder to come out on the other side of the process remaining close. (more…)

downsizeBy Nancy Peham
Special Contributor

We all reach a point in life where it makes sense to downsize. The first step is to realize, accept, and decide that the time has come to move forward with the process.

As adult children, we can support our parents’ decision in several ways.  We can provide emotional support, share information and resources, and when possible work alongside a parent to go through their home giving physical assistance. When that’s not feasible a third party can be brought in to help.

Your parent may be dealing with a home that has been lived in for 40 years or an apartment that has already been through the first round of downsizing.  There may have been a recent illness, loss of a spouse, or physical constraints that complicate the process, or your parents may be in great health.

So, Where Do You Start?

Whether a move will take place soon or your parents’ goal is just to simplify their lives, the steps are the same.  In the case of an imminent move, the stress level may be higher, but the most important thing is to begin the process as soon as you know the change is coming.    (more…)