An estimated 4.2 million retirees move to a new home each year, according to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices.” Over all, 64% of retirees expect to move at least once during retirement.
Most older adults downsizing needs are considerable because we have lived in our current residence 30, 40 or more years. As such, we’ve accumulated vast quantities of furnishings and treasured belongings. Organizational and physical tasks associated with planning and effecting relocating are complicated and, too often, daunting for our entire family.
When we decide to relocate from the comfort and familiarity of our longtime home to smaller and safer quarters, the path is generally kinda foggy. Evaluation requires a cool head and a clear unblinking look at a host of real life issues that transform to an easier and more enjoyable life. The right choice and the easy choice might not be the same.
1. Health: Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, failing eyesight, deteriorating balance, forgetfulness, low stamina and/or a combination of other health issues are signals that a change in residence might be beneficial to our comfort and well-being.
2. Finances: Reduced costs and less stress are precisely what the majority of seniors seek. Special needs for cash for continually increasing costs of healthcare, household taxes, insurance and maintenance are significant factors to be considered. Reducing square footage equates to lower costs of heating, cooling and keeping our home well-lighted. A smaller, or no, yard means less personal toil and eliminating the bucks associated with yard maintenance crews. Letting go allows us to live in the present. Funds resulting from downsizing add to our long-term financial security.
3. Safety: A safe and secure home is paramount to good health and happiness. When falls, driving mishaps, bruising, stumbling, etc. begin to occur, one’s safety is at risk. It’s time to consider updating living arrangements.
4. Hygiene: Neglect of personal care and hygiene are likely signs for needed help…the kinds for which a proud person is reluctant to ask. If a once impeccably attired person begins wearing the same clothing repeatedly until they become soiled and smelly, that’s a definite signal that help is needed.
5. Housekeeping: If dishes, laundry and other habitually well-managed household practices are declining, living on one’s own might be neither sanitary nor safe.
6. Meals: If one is losing weight, failing to shop for food regularly and/or is routinely retaining spoiled foods, proper nutrition is a concern. Diet neglect leads to an array of health problems.
7. Social Life: As we age, our circle of friends often diminishes. A well-chosen senior community potentially offers expanded friendship opportunities and social activities to improve our quality of life and social well-being.