When you reach a certain age, your current home may begin to feel like it’s too big for you. Keeping it clean and maintained becomes a hassle. If you’re widowed, divorced, or single by choice, the absence of your partner may make the place feel especially empty.
On the other hand, you may not want to lose the things that come with your current home: memories, neighbors, a kitchen you’ve renovated just so, or maybe a cozy backyard.
You’re undecided. And when you’re undecided, the simplest thing is to do nothing. Stay put. Without a plan.
Maybe it’s not you we’re talking about here. Maybe it’s your aging parents.
Whatever the case, keep this in mind: Staying put – or aging in place – can be a good choice, but only if the pros and cons have been properly considered.
The pros and cons of aging in place
- Current home is familiar
- No need to undertake a major move or get rid of some of your belongings
- Can maintain connections with neighbors
- Don’t have to give up existing features (e.g. own front door, backyard, access to local green space)
- Can access home care and community services if support needed
- Continued cleaning and upkeep may be more than you can handle
- If you don’t let go of some belongings now, may become a huge task for your adult kids later if you’re forced to move due to a health crisis or you pass away
- If your mobility decreases, parts of your current home may become inaccessible / unsafe
- Home care and community services may prove insufficient / expensive if your health changes significantly
If you go with this option
Aging in place may be a good option for you right now, but your health could change in the future. If that happens suddenly, you may be forced to scramble to find a suitable new place to live. And if you’re in the middle of a health crisis, that responsibility may fall to your adult kids. Not only that, they may have to thin out your belongings for you, a potentially mammoth task, particularly if it has to be done in short order.
One of the best things you can do is develop a Plan B. Even though you may have decided to age in place, you can still look at options for a new home such as condos or retirement communities. That way, if the time does come to move, you won’t be starting your search from scratch and feeling panicked about it. And if your kids are acting on your behalf, they’ll have a clear idea of your preferences.
You may want to begin going through your “stuff” now. There’s no need to wait. Going through a house full of things isn’t quite so overwhelming if you pace yourself and do a little bit at a time over several months. A lot of people feel relieved after doing it.
The pros and cons of downsizing
- It can feel renewing – gets you to focus on what’s important in your life
- Moving may open up a whole new set of opportunities – to make new friends, to take part in new activities
- A smaller space is usually easier to take care of. Depending upon where you move, homemaking and property maintenance services may even be included.
- Moving to a community where health monitoring is offered can give you added peace of mind.
- There’s risk involved in moving to a new place – giving up what you know for the unfamiliar – uncertainty of “what if this new place doesn’t work out?”
- The whole process of deciding what belongings you can take with you and what you need to get rid of can take a lot of emotional energy
- If you’re moving to a congregate setting like an apartment, there’s less privacy than in a single-family home
- You may be uncertain whether the sale of your current home will give them enough to cover future living expenses
If you go with this option
Moving later in life is more complicated than moving when you’re younger. There are a lot more things to consider. You might want to get professionals to help you figure where to live (e.g. a real estate agent with a Senior Real Estate Specialist designation) and carry out the move (e.g. a senior move manager). Look for people or companies that understand how downsizing is different from other moves.
If you want to consider attractive alternatives to aging in place, be sure to get in touch with us [link]. We have independent living suites who want to maintain active lifestyles available in several of our senior living communities. You’ll have a place of your own without the hassles of home ownership. And you’ll be able to take advantage of lots of social opportunities. Our activities include shopping trips, sightseeing drives and dining at favorite restaurants. Friends and family are always welcome.
Learn more about Sinceri Senior Living’s retirement communities
If you’re thinking a retirement community might be the way to go or you’d just like to explore it as an option, we can help. Learn more about Sinceri’s assisted living communities here, and contact us to schedule a tour.