'I miss the life we had with them all in the house' - how to cope with empty nest syndrome
Janet and Luke Carroll have recently put their house up on the market because they find themselves dealing with 'empty nest syndrome'. As an estate agent in Blackrock, Dublin, Janet has seen countless clients go through this process.
She doesn't believe in downsizing but prefers to use the term 'right-sizing'. "Your home should match your time of life," says Janet. "The ideal time to move is when all your kids are finished college. People who leave it too late don't have enough time to integrate into a new community."
Janet and Luke own a six/seven-bedroom house that no longer suits their needs. "We have four adult children now and are expecting our eighth grandchild," says Janet. "All the children left home around the same time."
The fact that it happened so quickly was very hard for the couple. "Going from having four children with a house that was always so busy to an empty space is very upsetting. I miss the life we had with them all in the house," says Janet. "Now we have a house that isn't suitable for us. It's strange to walk around and see the house empty."
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With years of experience in the property world, the Carrolls know exactly what they want for their 'retirement' home. "We want a three-bed house with a nice little garden for the dog and grandchildren, in an area where we can walk to the shops and restaurants," says Janet.
She has seen many clients trading down to a smaller house, but she says this is not her plan. "With the kids, their partners and the grandchildren, there are now 18 of us so we need space to be able to entertain everybody. We need a bigger living space."
The Carrolls see this as a new start rather than retiring and putting their feet up.
"Sometimes I see people come back to life when they move into a new house," says Janet. "They love the change," she says cheerfully.
"We're just right-sizing to suit the way we live now."