The Laureate Way

Articles to Help Families and Older Adults Manage the Challenges of Aging

Selling Your Home: The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief

Selling Your Home The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief

Selling your home and leaving that huge part of your being can be similar to losing someone you have loved in your life. I have been fortunate to help seniors and their families make the transition from the home where they raised their families and have loved for an average of 30-50 years, to condominiums, senior apartments and communities.

Your home represents so much more than the bricks and mortar. It is about family, memories, neighbors, security, and what you have known for so many years.

1. Denial and Isolation

The first reaction to any circumstance that is traumatic is to deny the reality of the situation as it relates to loss.

When selling your home, denial of the reason for a move is frustrating and sometimes depressing. It is hard to watch mom or dad resist and ignore what is happening around them. This is difficult to accept for any of us, but at some point, change is required if one is to remain fully active and healthy.

Denial often leads to a crisis that has to be managed.

2. Anger

Have you ever become angry when others who love you are trying to help but you wish they would stop? Moving from the family home is upsetting for everyone, causing feelings of loss and bereavement. As children, we are losing the home that represented our youth and family gatherings. For the older adult moving, it represents a reality that he or she does not want to accept. 

3. Bargaining

A need to control the situation is a normal reaction to a feeling of helplessness. When selling your home to move to new housing, we get into “shoulding” ourselves: We should have gone to the doctor sooner to fix our current malady; We should have purchased that ranch years ago that did not have the stairs we currently have in our home today.

4. Depression

Falling into a sad state as we begin to worry about the moving process is the stage an older adult may feel isolated. This is a time for families to talk about what is happening. It may entail a visit to the doctor as well as a family meeting. The one moving needs to be surrounded by those who truly have their best interests at heart.

5. Acceptance

In the end, we tend to avoid what is uncertain. When first selling your home, you will remain in a familiar, unhealthy situation rather than move to a set of circumstances you know is better. For those who do reach the acceptance phase relating to a loss of one’s home, a peace and calm may follow. 

Acceptance comes sooner for some but for others a bit of time and patience are needed. In the end we all want what is best for ourselves and our loved ones. We may need to cut ourselves and others some slack. Patience, understanding and love will always bring a family closer to the ultimate goal of happiness, peace, prosperity and a safe and secure place we can all call home.

Selling Your Home: The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief was inspired by the article “The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief” by Julie Axelrod.

Bruce Nemovitz is a Senior Real Estate Specialist, as well as Certified Senior Advisor. Bruce has sold residential homes in the four county Milwaukee-Metro areas for 35 years.