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Breaking the silence?  What will your parents do? Have you ever felt like there was a conversation you really wanted to have with your parents about their plans for the future?  A recent article in my Realtor magazine calls this time for selling the family home a “family affair”  A move for aging parents can be filled with emotion from all family members.  Everyone shares a concern for the health, safety and well being of our honored family seniors, that should go without saying.  However, what I have seen recently in working with senior clients to sell homes leaves me with a variety of questions and concerns. I believe there is confusion among families & seniors and not always is the senior being given first consideration.

“Breaking the silence” is a phrase that showed up in an article about Alzheimer’s. What if your parents are not processing information rationally? Where & when should you step in? Experience being the best teacher, I want to tell you, don’t wait! Have the conversations early & honestly. In this past month I have had talks with families about their parents & I have also had conversations with the parents how they are involving their children & other family members.  Alzheimer’s along with other mental health issues is a concern in home ownership . My advise is, if you start to see things that are out of the ordinary, find the courage to ask the deeper questions. 

Here are some real life issues that have shown up in my travels as a Realtor.

A widow, who has never been the best at financial planning finds her senior years being short on funds for buying a home like she is used to living in but, becomes too embarrassed to talk it over with her only child who is doing well financially. I’m certain that an open conversation between them would open up opportunities for a solution. If you have a single parent, please check in lovingly to see how things are going & if you can help.

A father & son living across the country from each other find that although Dad was sounding in charge & everything was fine. Later discovers Dad is selling the house and has no idea how he will move his belongings or where he intends to go. The problem doesn’t come to light until the Escrow company is calling the son to say help is needed.  The son had no idea of how much trouble his father had created. . Please connect with parents across the country & know the neighbors or friends that can call you first if they see any concerns.

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Mom ends up in the hospital with serious health issues & the son starts getting involved with paying bills & getting things on the home front organized, only to find that there is very serious debts, lots of e-mails and text messages to out of country scammers. Now, the house has been refinanced to many time he is given no opinion than to sell her home in a short sale in order to clear up the situation. Ask questions before it’s too late.  The son had seen signs but, felt his Mother was not capable of such mistakes.  Was some dementia at play in this situation?  Please ask questions. Break the silence. Be courageous.

I have seen two families with parents in their late 80’s to early nineties helping parents move to senior living care homes. One family had a conference call with all family members & decided that the situation for their parents was unhealthy, not safe & very frustrating for all of them trying to care for the parents. It was decided for the parents that moving needed to happen right away & it did. Stubbornness is a pretty common problem with parents wanting to stay an unreasonable amount of time in their homes.  A tuff one, but the family communication made the move happen & the parents are now thriving.

The other family was more divided & had conflicting ideas on what should happen & the parents were challenged & stressed as they tried to make the move themselves. Sometimes, it’s best to set aside the pride & remember the needs of aging parents. 

I’m the Realtor in similar stories to these. Don’t worry no confidentiality has been broken. My guess is most of have been witness to similar situations. Please let’s do what we can to be helpful in building kind communication and community around our most vulnerable adults. 

My goal is to bring people together for the health and well-being of aging seniors and to honor all they have contributed to the world around them.

Please call on me if I can bring my knowledge, experience & compassion to assist you with a move that needs to happen today or into the future.

Feel free to share my list of tips from the Seniors Real Estate specialist network. 



Teresa Barthol

Teresa Barthol

Realtor - Managing Broker



Teresa Barthol


Teresa Barthol -Managing Broker with eXp Realty Seattle.  Brings 22 plus years’ experience to consult with clients about real estate in the 3rd and 4th quarters of their lives. .  With longevity in Real Estate Teresa loves to share her optimistic problem solving skills, creative out of the box thinking along with her enthusiasm for great outcomes. “Believe,” she will say, your desires in life will be realized. Teresa focuses on Lifestyles to Live within the four walls you call home.

With Guest Authors: 
Marcelle Allen from Dreamosity
Elisa Hawkinson - How2GetOrganized!
Karen Herold - Wise Transition


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