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Can a Person with Dementia Sell Their House?

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A silhouette of a senior person who is holding his head by his hand with a gesture of difficulty in remembering. When someone has dementia, they may not be able to make decisions or understand things in the same way that they used to

As we grow older, our bodies and minds change. For some people, these changes can include a condition called dementia, which affects a person’s memory, thinking, and behavior. 

Receiving the diagnosis of dementia in a loved one can be a difficult and emotional experience. While symptoms such as misplacing objects or forgetting appointments may be mild at first, the condition is likely to progress to the point where they can’t manage their lifestyle or live independently.

You may be wondering if someone with dementia can sell or downsize their home as you consider their future and the cost of care. The answer is that it depends on the person’s ability to make decisions and understand what they are doing.

When someone has dementia, they may not be able to make decisions or understand things in the same way that they used to. When the time is right, moving them into a memory care community may be an option you’re considering so they can get the support they need.

Power of Attorney

If a person with dementia wants to sell their house, it’s important to make sure they understand what they are doing and can make an informed decision.

This might involve getting help from a lawyer or financial advisor to make sure your loved one understands the process and the consequences of selling their house. They may also consider naming a power of attorney (POA). A power of attorney is responsible for making decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.

If your loved one has a POA in place, they will be able to assist them with the process of selling their house. This may include finding a real estate agent, setting a price for the house, and negotiating with potential buyers.

Your loved one needs to have open and honest communication with the POA about their wishes and concerns regarding the sale of their house. It’s also important to choose a POA that they trust and who will act in their best interest.

What if There Is No Power of Attorney?

If there’s no POA in place, the process of selling the house may be more complicated. Depending on the laws in your state, your loved one may need to go through a guardianship or conservatorship process to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf.

This can be a lengthy and expensive process, so make sure you and your loved one take the time to consider whether or not it’s the right choice. A guardianship or conservatorship may limit your loved one’s autonomy and decision-making ability, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

A young woman is helping senior mother on paperwork in selling her house.

Legal Capacity to Sell

Another option is to sell the house while your loved one still has the legal capacity to do so. Legal capacity refers to the ability to understand the nature and consequences of one’s actions and to make decisions accordingly. In the context of selling a house, this means understanding what the house is, what it is worth, and the implications of selling it.

If they’re able to make decisions and understand the consequences of selling their house, they may choose to sell it while they are still able to make these decisions for themselves.

This can give them more control over the process and allow them to make choices that are in their best interest. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that as dementia progresses, their ability to make decisions may decline, so it’s important to act while they are still able to do so.

Help Your Loved One with the Process

To avoid costly mistakes, a loved one can review contracts and be present during meetings with a real estate agent.

It’s also helpful to find a real estate agent with experience working with seniors, such as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), who has access to resources and information on topics related to seniors in transition, including laws and forms related to dementia.

Transitioning to Senior Living with Memory Care

Once your loved one has begun the process of selling their home, the next step will likely be to transition them into a senior living community that offers memory care.

Making the decision to move into a senior living community can be a challenging and emotional process for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for those with memory care needs. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process of transitioning to senior living with memory care:

  • Start the conversation early
  • Research your options
  • Involve your loved one in the decision-making process
  • Prepare for the move
  • Make the transition as smooth as possible

With careful planning and support, moving into a senior living community can be a positive experience for both you and your loved one. By researching your options, involving loved ones in the decision-making process, preparing for the move, and making the transition as smooth as possible, you can help ensure a comfortable and successful transition.

We’re Here for You

When you’re making the decision to transition your loved one into a memory care community, you may have questions. We’re here to help support you and your loved ones throughout the process. 

Contact us if you have any questions about memory care at Tylers Mill Senior Living. We would love to provide you with any information you need about daily activities and the level of care that we provide. You can even schedule a tour if you and your loved one would like to see our community in person.

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

More Articles By Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President
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