As people age, there are more than a handful of reasons why living in a large home may not be the best decision and a late-life move could be a smart choice. Mobility issues may prevent proper maintenance, and a limited income can mean having to choose between paying the mortgage or buying much-needed prescription medications. Fortunately, seniors have many options that can help them remain independent while enjoying the most valuable benefit of retirement: time.
Is It Time to Move?
If the thought of downsizing to a smaller home has been swirling around your head, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there many areas of my home that are not used?
- Can I honestly handle lawn and home maintenance?
- Do I feel isolated because I am physically too far from family?
- Do I have too much stuff?
- Can I safely navigate throughout the house?
- Do I have enough equity to finance travel or other interests?
Think about your answers, but be honest with yourself. The idea of leaving a long-time home can be stressful, but the world of possibilities on the other side of the move is a great motivation.
Testing the Waters
If you have decided to downsize, why not give it a test drive? Staying in a local vacation rental can give you an idea of what living in a home that size would be like. Plus, you can treat this as a little staycation and enjoy local attractions. According to Turnkey, there are plenty of opportunities for you to really familiarize with different areas in Chicago, whether you decide to take a tour of its architecture or spend time in West Town, Lincoln Park, or another neighborhood. If this experience has further influenced your decision to downsize, the next step is making moving preparations.
Moving when you are a senior requires quite a bit of planning, and you may not find a home that checks every box. A few home modifications may be necessary to ensure that your new home is safe and comfortable. While this may be a significant cost (less than $10,000 on average), if you find the right home, making a few modifications can save you money compared to staying in your current home, where it may be necessary to do a complete interior and exterior overhaul.
You’ll also need to evaluate how much stuff you have and how much of that can come along with you. You may not be able to bring large pieces, and if clutter is something you are trying to avoid, you’re going to have to be very selective on what you do keep. Start by making note of those things you simply can’t live without, such as family photos. Everything else should be donated, given to family, or sold to help you pay for new, smaller furniture, for your compacted space. (RealSimple offers advice on the best pieces when you don’t have a lot of room.)
Throughout the process, make sure to talk to your realtor for advice on everything from design to which movers are the best for seniors.
When Alone Isn’t Safe
Before you choose a home, it may be necessary to decide if living alone is truly the best option for you. Sometimes, even buying a smaller home with accessible, senior-friendly features doesn’t quite do the trick. Hiring in-home senior care services, which Seniors Helping Seniors provides, can help improve your quality of life without the need to do everything yourself. From companionship to personal care, an in-home caregiver can help make living at home safe.
You may also talk to your doctor and family to determine if it is in your best interest to move into an assisted living or independent living community. Make sure that you understand the difference between the two; it is important to differentiate, because independent living centers, while they provide common spaces, housing, and some amenities, don’t usually offer help with everyday activities. If you have significant mobility limitations, an assisted-living center can keep you safe while ensuring that your hygiene, nutrition, and other needs are met.
Moving in your golden years takes away the burden of caring for a large home. It can free up time and money, and this can give you a new quality of life. Remember, things won’t be the same, but change is not something to be feared. Be honest with yourself and decide if staying in your home is the best option or if you would be safer and happier by downsizing your accommodations.
If you've decided to continue living independently, but need assistance with personal care, chores, and other daily living activities, contact Seniors Helping Seniors today.
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