Don’t fool yourself, this is a huge decision. If you have moved before, the process is probably not one you are looking forward to repeating. The problem is sometimes the process is so daunting that we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It can seem easier just to avoid even thinking about it.
Let’s not avoid and take the steps to make the right decisions:
1. Get out there and experience it. Touring the different housing options does not mean you have to sign on the dotted line. Don’t put any pressure on yourself at this stage, just look for a general impression of the different communities. Try to visit a variety, from the large that offer many options to small more cozy settings. Options range from a 55+ apartment complex to a senior community that can provide all levels of care. It is always best to call first to make an appointment for a tour.
2. Consider what it would take to make you stay in your home. Home modifications are only one component. Look at the transportation options if you are no longer able or comfortable driving. Do you have a strong social circle or will staying at home only isolate you from others? Are you willing to ask for help from family or hire in-home care, if it is needed in the future? Is this an option for 5 years or indefinitely?
3. Finances – don’t rely on what you have heard from well meaning friends, get the facts. Meet with your financial planner, your Realtor, and do your homework. Then, discuss with family and friends. They might have suggestions you hadn’t considered.
4. Now, make a decision. It might be to wait until next year and then revisit the options, but at least you will know that you have explored the possibilities and are not avoiding the process.
5. If you decide to move, please do things in the right order. Do not start organizing your cupboards before you know where you will be living. What you need for a studio apartment in a community with dining service will be very different from a 2 room condo with a full kitchen. If you downsize, organize and pack right the first time, you will only have to do it once.
6. Ask for help; family and friends can be invaluable but there are also professional Senior Move Managers that can help you plan and execute the entire moving process. Their services range from sorting, organizing and packing to arranging for movers, donations, estate sales, and shipping. They can also unpack and set-up the new space so you are ready to enjoy your new home on the first day.
Downsizing and Move Management for Older Adults