Elder CareHome Care

Can a Person with Dementia Sell Their House?

Sometimes we have to face difficult decisions like how we might care for our aging parents and loved ones. Should we sell their house? Should we have an estate sale? Hire a professional? An attorney? Where do we start when it comes to making decisions like these for our aging parents? Especially if they have dementia. And if they have dementia, they are going to need elderly care services at some point for sure. We’ll try to cover some options to explore in this article and, hopefully, provide you with some hope along the way too.

It’s not an easy decision to make and one that will most likely require the help of other family members, as well as professionals. For example, if your parent or loved one has dementia, they may be unable to communicate their wishes about what they want to happen to their belongings and property. In this case, you will need to decide for them.

One option to consider is to sell your loved one’s home. This can be difficult, but it may be the best thing to do if your loved one can no longer live independently. If you decide to sell the house, you will need to hire a real estate agent and get the house ready to sell. This can be a lot of work, but it may be worth it. There are also other professionals who work with realtors to help you “stage” the home before putting it on the market.

Another option is to have an estate sale. This is where you sell your loved one’s belongings in a public auction. This can be an excellent way to get rid of unwanted items and simultaneously make some money for their care. You will also need to hire a professional to help you with this process. Fortunately, the individuals who assist in “staging” houses for sale usually provide this as a service as well.

Also, and probably most importantly, consider hiring an attorney to help you with the sale of your loved one’s house or estate. They help navigate the legal process and ensure everything is done correctly and to the law.

Whatever your process looks like, make sure you do your research and consult with professionals to get their opinion on the best course of action for your particular situation. In addition, it is imperative to talk with other family members before making any final decisions. Selling a house is a huge decision and one that should definitely not be taken lightly.


How long can a person with dementia live at home?

Studies suggest that, on average, someone will live around ten years following a dementia diagnosis. However, this can vary significantly between individuals as some people have lived for more than twenty years, so it’s wise to not focus on the figures and instead make the very most of the time left.

There are also excellent in-home healthcare companies that can assist in helping the person with dementia remain in their home for as long as possible, prolonging their dignity, independence, and quality of life. Therefore, it is vital to have a conversation with your health care team about what you can do to make your home dementia friendly.

Some things that can be done to make the home environment more comfortable for a person with dementia include:

  • Make sure there is plenty of natural light and remove all trip hazards
  • Put clocks and watches around the house and label cupboards and drawers
  • Provide easy-to-eat foods and drinks and avoid strong smells
  • Play calm music or sounds from nature and use rugs or mats to reduce noise
  • Keep the home warm and avoid draughts
  • Encourage social interaction by having friends and family visit or engage in activities together.


Who is responsible for a person with dementia?

If there are no family members to provide loving, honest, and ethical care, a Conservator will be the person responsible for a person with dementia. A Conservator is a person appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the person living with dementia, referred to as the guardian in some states.

The Conservator will have the legal authority to make decisions about the person’s care, residence, medical treatment, and financial matters. The court will decide if the Conservator is needed and who will be best suited for this role. The Conservator is usually a family member or close friend but can also be a professional fiduciary. It is always best if it is a family member because they know the person with dementia best and can make decisions in their best interest.

If you are the one named as a Conservator, you will have many responsibilities. One of your first tasks will be inventorying the person’s belongings and property. This includes their house, vehicles, financial accounts, other valuables, etc.

Once you have a list of everything the person owns, you will need to determine what to do with it. This is where the difficult decisions come in. Try to remember to have a list of people you can count on for support so you can have the energy and time to take on these tasks that will be mentally draining. During this journey, you will need a mental health support team (other family members, friends, spouses, adult children, etc.).

These decisions are never easy, but if you take your time, consult with professionals and other family members, you can make the best decisions for your loved one.

The following are some options to consider when you are trying to decide what to do with a person’s belongings and property:

  1. How to pay for care
  2. What type of care will they need
  3. Where will they live
  4. Sell the house
  5. Rent out the house
  6. Put the house in a trust
  7. Keep the house and live there
  8. What to do with their belongings
  • Give to family or friends
  • Donate to charity
  • Put in storage
  • Sell
  • Estate sale

Selling the house may be the best option if the person with dementia needs expensive care and/or their condition is rapidly deteriorating. On the other hand, if the person with dementia is still relatively healthy, you may want to consider renting out the house. This can provide some income to help offset the costs of care.

If you decide to keep the house, you may want to put it in a trust. This will protect the home from being sold to pay for long-term care expenses. You should consult with an attorney to set up the trust and ensure it is done correctly. And, if you sell, you should consider an estate sale for the belongings if valuables are involved.


Estate sale etiquette

Before deciding what movers to hire or how to downsize, consider if an estate sale is right for you and what is the proper etiquette in doing so.

An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sale or auction to dispose of a substantial portion of the materials owned by a recently deceased person or who must dispose of their personal property to facilitate a move. Wikipedia

In other words, it is a sale of all the belongings of people who are moving, downsizing, have passed away, or in this case, has dementia and needs full-time professional health care. This sale is usually held at home itself, with an “everything must go” mentality.

If you are the one considering hosting an estate sale, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you’ll need to decide if you want to hire a professional company to manage the sale or if you’re comfortable doing it yourself.

If you choose to do it yourself, be aware that it’s a lot of work, and you’ll need to be very organized and have a solid understanding of pricing. Plus, you will be busy assisting in other duties for your loved one with dementia.

If they have many valuable belongings, you may want to have an estate sale. This can be a way to generate some extra income. You can also give away belongings to family or friends. Another option is to donate items to charity. Finally, if you have sentimental items but do not want to keep them, you can put them in storage.

Deciding to sell a house is never easy. However, if it is the best option for the person with dementia, then it must be done.


Can a person with dementia sell their house?

In wrapping up this conversation, it’s important to consider all options regarding a person with dementia selling their house. Taking the time to make the best decision for your loved one is crucial. Although we cannot stress it enough, always be sure to consult with other family members, professionals, and your support team before making any decisions.