This Is What Seniors Should Know About Downsizing
While nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their original homes (aka aging in place), this is not always an option. Deciding to move is both a financial and emotional decision, but if you can’t keep up with bills or maintenance, you’re always traveling, or you’re only utilizing 25 percent of the rooms in the home, it may be best to downsize to a smaller abode.
Of course, there are several things to consider, such as the costs associated with selling and moving, how far you to be from friends and family, and how any existing health issues (if applicable) will affect your decision on where to reside. Here are some key factors you should know if you’re thinking of scaling down in your golden years.
Where Are You Going?
You’ve first got to decide what type of living arrangement you want to move to before finding the perfect place. For example, will it be a smaller home — the average sales price for a home in the New Orleans area over the last month is $291,000 — or a condo, apartment, retirement community, or assisted living facility? Factors to consider are budget, current state of health, and lifestyle. Do you want to be around others? Are you rarely home due to travel or social engagements? Do you have a furry, four-legged friend you will want to take with you?
Once you determine the type of place you want to move into, do some research about the locations you’re considering. If it’s a new city or state, make sure you spend some time there before deciding to call it home. It’s also a smart idea to choose a non-rural area that’s near a hospital in case of an emergency, as well as general peace of mind.
Planning Your Move
Any move requires decluttering, but even more so if you’re downsizing. Consider the size of your new space and take only what you need. Focus on sentimental items — not needless junk — and consider giving the things you can’t take to a loved one. If you’re having a tough time, there’s always the option to rent a storage unit until you’re more comfortable making a decision on certain items, but just keep in mind that you’ll be incurring an additional monthly fee on top of your other expenses.
As you plan, don’t forget your pet. The moving process can be tricky for a pet who is used to a certain routine. Stacks of boxes and new people can be dangerous and cause your pet a lot of stress. Use a pet crate to give your pet a safe and secure space to call home while you’re packing up your current home, moving from place to place, and pet-proofing your new space. The best crates are made of high-quality materials, get good online reviews, and provide enough room for your pet to stand up and turn completely around.
Once you’ve decluttered, consider hiring a professional packing service to box things up for you. These pros will do everything from documenting all of the items that need to be packed (this will help you estimate moving costs, too), using high-quality materials to perfectly pack all of your items (including valuables and furniture), and labeling boxes according to room and placement so move-in day is a breeze. Not only will this save you a lot of time, but you’ll actually end up ahead in the financial department, too, as these experts know exactly how much of each type of supply to use so there’s no waste. They’re also insured in case there’s any damage during the packing/moving process.
When it comes to professional movers, there is a growing number that specializes in moving seniors. Along with being sympathetic to emotional and physical needs, they also offer additional help for tasks such as arranging estate sales or storage facilities and helping to set up a senior’s new living space — from furniture placement to shelving arrangement.
On the flip side, if you’re the child or friend of a senior who’s moving, understand that your loved one needs a good support system during this emotional time. Be respectful of their feelings and strive to make them feel empowered about their decision to downsize. Lend a helping hand with the move, and don’t forget to keep things light and positive to help calm their nerves.
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