Rebecca Bomann, the CEO of SASH Services, joins Suzanne Newman to talk about eight things every senior homeowner deserves during a home sale. This segment focuses on the last two things, which are about the journey to say goodbye to the home, without minimizing emotions:
7: Space to grieve. Give a senior homeowner the space and opportunity to feel sad. When we sell a home in our 20s or 30s, there’s excitement, looking forward to the next journey. But if you’ve lived in your house for 50 years, it feels much different. The home is so familiar, it’s become a major part of your identity and memories. Selling and leaving is like losing a family member. Let a senior loved one grieve – let them be sad, for as long as they need.
8: An opportunity to say goodbye. It’s not the same as grieving; you can grieve anywhere. Let them say farewell to their home. The home sale shouldn’t be so rushed that there isn’t time to say goodbye. Respect the significance of the place.
SASH stands for Sell A Senior’s Home. Learn more at the SASH Services website.
View Episode Transcript
*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider, hurt, on the answers for elders radio show. And Welcome back everyone to answers for elders podcast radio network. And we are here with Rebecca Bowman, the CEO of Sash, and we have been talking this last hour all about the rights of seniors as they begin to sell, sell their home and this is a very emotional, just overwhelming process. And Rebecca, before we get into our last two can you summarize where we’ve been on all the the the quote Unquote Bill of Rights? Yes, and so we’re talking about eight things that every senior homeowner deserves in the sale of their home, regardless of who they are, the home they’re selling, the price point. They all deserve this. So we started with kindness and then patients. Then we moved into decisionmaking. Let them have decisionmaking. Give them the respect of knowledge and information was our fourth one, so they know the why behind all the things that they’re deciding about. Then we have home momentos. Allow there to be that home momentum that goes with them to their new place, or many of them in the case of model cars. And then we talked about caring advocates. No senior should ever go through their home sale without at least one strong caring advocate who’s walking through the journey with them and helping absolutely absolutely. And so now we are on number seven, believe it or not. Yeah, and so it is number seven. I think this is a really difficult one, I think, to put your head around when you’re in your s or s or s, because when we sell a home and we’re moving to our next home, we’re like, whoo Whoo, I get to move into that one now and I loved this one, but I’m you know, you’re really looking forward to the next step, and so it makes leaving the old one behind easy through. What if you’ve lived in your home for forty years, fifty years? I’ve helped clients who’ve lived in their home sixty, sixty five years. They’ve been in the same home. Wow, that is such a different processes saying goodbye, and so the home becomes so familiar, so much a part of who they are, all the memories they are, all the comfort every all the decades they spent there, that selling it and leaving is like losing a family member. Absolutely grief stricken as a family member being lost, and so there’s a lot of sadness, there might be anger, there’s all the stages of grief and it’s really important to give the senior homeowner the space to grieve, to grieve in their way, however that looks to be sad, to be angry, to be quiet, however that take shape for them. They feel a tearing away when they leave it behind and there’s an emptiness and they think about their home for years to come and I really believe they deserve the space to do this for as long as they need to, without people saying to them, okay, now you need to move on or everybody needs to move on and minimizing the grief or making it seem like they’re being overly dramatic or emotional. Let them be sad. It’s really hard to sell their home. Very true, very, very very true. I remember sitting with a client once and we had she had just signed to sell her home and we were meeting in a kitchen. For some reason it was like the kitchen of her senior care community because that’s where there was a table available and for the notary who came and notarize the documents. It was just one stop in her day, one of eight notaries that she was doing in that in her day, and she was just all business and getting it done and off she went. And I sat with the client for a minute afterwards and I said, you know, I think there might be some ice cream in the freezer. So we raided the freezer and we found some ice cream and we just sat and just allowed her to kind of be in the moment and be sad and have some comfort and people around her as she was, you know, grieving this enormous step that it wasn’t just a signature to her, it was the last step of her homeownership. Well, and so many times people have lost spouses and then they yes house. So not only are you letting go of a house, but it’s the memories that you shared with maybe fifty some plus. You’re of a life with someone right. So it’s a lot more emotionally charged than people realize that it is. And so we talked about kindness as the first one and part of kindness is validating them, validating them. Good morning with the gentleman that I was sitting in his living room. He said, I don’t know, I don’t know if I can sell and I said it is a hard decision, isn’t it? And he said my wife died here. I lived with my wife here and and she died here and and so leaving the home feels like leaving her, just like you were saying before. And so he needs the space to grieve. This sort of plays right into our number eight, the last one, which is an opportunity to say goodbye. And it’s not the same as the space to grieve, because you can grieve anywhere in the country, HMM, and still not have had a chance to say goodbye to the home that you loved. And want to tell a quick story about a woman named Dorothy who I assisted her with her home sale, and we the home was renovated and it was going to go to a new owner and this was it. We weren’t going to have access to the home anymore more. And I say, would you like to go back and take one more look at the home, and she said, Oh, I would really like that. So we drove, we took selfies by the front door, I took a picture of her by the kitchen sink and then she said, could I just have a few minutes alone in the house by myself and I said absolutely, I’ll run an errand and I’ll be back. Take your time. And so there was a chair in the living room and she just sat in her chair. She had raised three sons there, she had should own the home over fifty years and she just got to be alone with the home and say goodbye to it in that moment and that was really important to her. And the home sale should never be so rushed that there is not the chance to do that, MMM, to say goodbye. So for some people it’s quiet and reflective. For some might be driving by and waving. It might be writing a letter to the new owners about all the corks of the home and how to turn the sprinkler on and what to do with the humming birds when they come out and where they like to the hummingbird leaders and which neighbor has an obnoxious dog, but if you give them these treats he’ll be okay. Yeah, or just to do that. You have a million stories like that. Or just sitting on the back deck and taking in the view. Yeah, for a little bit longer. And so we as professionals and as fay only members and is advocates and his elder care providers and as friends and family. We want to respect the significance of that place to the home owner, of all that it held, all the years that passed there, and give them that opportunity to say goodbye. One more story. We renovated a home for a client want just recently down down here and she wanted to invite all of her neighbors over to see the renovation before it was sold. So we got treats from starbucks, we got coffee and it was like a giant open house and all of her neighbors came and saw their renovation and she had her realtor give them tours around the home and she just sat there basking as the hostess or she beautiful home that she was selling and it meant so much to her that she wrote a thank you letter to us for letting her do that with her neighbors and that was her chance to say goodbye. And it’s interesting because I’ve worked with families. You’re saying that one of the things that I’ve encouraged families to do and that we’ve talked about this before we started recording, is go to like go to your it. Do you have a bedroom that you spent, you know, ten years in right or or anything like that. Write a letter to the new owner about what, what, what this roomant to you, maybe how you had it decorated. You know, these are the milestones that you reached. You know, I want track championship since put my trophies in here or anything like that that is pertinent that had this room. And and what we just did is put an envelope and just stick it right in the middle of the floor, you know it. So it’s like to so and so whatever that is. So when they get were they’re moving in, they see these letters and every room it’s like, all of a sudden there was a connection and it was really interesting because in one of the cases that we worked with, the new owners actually reached out to them and said thank you for this. Yes, they do automatically connects them with the house, but it also made them feel good about that this there was love in this house. Yes, good things in this house, and that building, that emotional attachment to the home makes the seller are feel good that they have the home. They’re passing it on absolutely the oldest client I ever took care of through her home cell was a hundred and one and she was super smart. She finished all of our sentences, signed all her contracts herself and she wrote the most beautiful letter to the new homeowners when she sold her home that she had owned for sixty four years, and I framed it. It was so precious that I framed it and left it on the kitchen counter for the new buyers and they came in and there was chocolates and maybe some champagne to welcome them to their new home and a letter from the hundred and one year old senior home owner that WHO’s home they bought and these amazing whose history they were buying into. So that was her opportunity to say goodbye to for her home. Yeah, and and it really too. It is an important process, it really is it not to have that time to be able to let go and and you’re right, there two separate things when it comes to mementos, and you know, and and that and grief, grief, not grieving. Look, sometimes can take a year afterwards realizing that just because I let go, I’m still in the process. I’m not really you know, I’m missing my old house. Yeah, you know, maybe I’m part of that. I’m sure you know is let’s take a drive out to the new neighborhood, you know, our old neighborhood, to see how things are going, to drive by the house just to make you feel like it’s still there. You know those things that are important as well. I know I did that with my mom a couple of times. Let’s just dry by the old house and see how it’s doing. Yeah, there’s right away. She look from the House and she went, well, he’s not taking hard. That’s probably going to happen if you do a drive by, and I went okay, well, yeah, so, Rebecca, how do we read too? Well, thank you so much for this time, Suzanne. We are we’re online, of course, all the time at Sash Servicescom. Lots of information on our website and our phone number. Two thousand six five a one hundred forty three seven five. And just thank you for allowing us to be here. Well, we’re very, very glad you are and we’re looking forward to having many more conversations like this in the yes feature. And again to each and every one of you that have come and listen to us today, Rebecca, and I say thank you and you know, take care of your loved one, take care of your senior, loved one and, most importantly, be good to each other. Yeah, thanks. Answers for elders radio show with Suzanne Newman. Hopes you found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. Check out more podcasts like this to help you find qualified senior care experts and areas of financial, legal, health and wellness and living options. 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Originally published February 27, 2022