What do you suspect might be the hardest part of downsizing? For some people, it is letting go of a home that has been lived in for decades. For others, the hardest thing is parting with possessions. There are so many emotional attachments that it can be hard to give things up.
Assuming you are a younger adult with parents who will be downsizing in the next couple of years, might we offer you a few tips that will both make you a good gift giver and allow you to help with downsizing? For the purposes of this post, it is all about things. It’s about the things you and your children gift to your parents.
You Reach That Age…
Observing the dynamic between young kids and seniors in regard to their stuff is rather fascinating. When you are young, you always seem to want more stuff than you can possibly have. Yet such desires wear off over time. As any senior can testify, you reach that age when you have enough stuff. You don’t need any more. More importantly, you do not want any more.
There may be several more birthdays and Christmases before your parents are ready to downsize. Don’t gift them more stuff. Every object you give is another object that has to be dealt with when it’s time to downsize. Instead of more stuff, what they really value is your time.
Give Them Experiences
One thing we have learned from many conversations with our downsizing clients is that objects tend to gather dust on the shelf or stay hidden away in boxes. On the other hand, experiences are lived. The point here is to give your parents experiences. Better yet, give them experiences they can share with you.
Do you parents appreciate the theater? Take them to dinner and then to one of the latest shows in your town. Take them to see a show they always wanted to see but could never justify paying for themselves. They will love the experience and the time spent with you.
You can even give your parents the gift of experience without spending a ton of money. In fact, you need not spend any money at all. Visit once every couple of weeks and just talk. Have a picnic lunch as a family. Take a walk on the beach or in the woods, hit a tennis ball around, or sit under the stars and be amazed by their beauty.
Gifts That Last Forever
The thing about giving experiences as gifts is that the memories they create last forever. No matter where your parents plan to downsize to, they will not be limited in the number of memories they can take. They will not have to sift through those memories to decide which ones stay and which ones go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill box.
There is another hidden bonus here as well: you and your kids will make your own memories during the shared experiences. So long after mom and dad are gone, you will remember those happy times you had experiencing life together. You will tell funny stories around the campfire and reminisce around the Christmas tree.
Hopefully your kids will learn from your example and repeat the process when it is time for you to downsize. They will gift you with experiences rather than stuff. Then you, your kids, and grandkids can all make wonderful memories sharing quality time together.
That is how you become a good gift giver and help with future downsizing. Rather than giving seniors more stuff they do not need, give them your time by sharing experiences with them. After all, time is more important than any object you could possibly give.