As a grief counselor, something I have found is that as people adjust to their loss over time, they find themselves going in new and unexpected directions. This is what happens when your life has had a major overhaul. Often times when a spouse dies, the other spouse’s needs change dramatically. One of these needs is related to their lifestyle and home. Circumstances and grief timelines are unique and diverse from person to person. One individual may want to continue living in their home where their loved one died as it is a physical connection to the deceased and alive with loving memories. Another person may want or need to move as they wish to be closer to other family members or the upkeep and expenses of the home have become too much for them to manage alone. The idea of downsizing, moving closer to your kids and grandkids, to a senior community or to an assisted living facility might be appealing now.
When the time comes that an individual decides to sell their home, the question may come up about any deaths that occurred in the home. However, this does not have to be a sensitive or awkward subject in the midst of selling your home. Where Americans die has changed greatly in the past few decades, because hospice has been able to offer home health care options. In December 2019, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the most common place people die of natural causes is in their own home. In Kansas there is no law stating that you have to disclose that a death due to natural causes occurred in the home, therefore it is up to the discretion of the seller. According to Luke Bell, Vice President of Governmental Affairs with the Kansas Association of Realtors, knowing that there was a death in the home might have a psychological impact on some buyers, but there is no evidence it affects the home’s market value. Sherry Diel, Executive Director of the Kansas Real Estate Commission (2001-2015) stated in an article that, “she can’t remember a complaint that someone had not disclosed a natural death occurring in a home.” When in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to disclose the information.
There are many facets to grief and it can be very complicated. Midland Care offers grief support services through individual counseling, grief support groups, family counseling, book clubs, art project and many other formats. Call 785-232-2044 to set up a consultation with a grief counselor.