If you are 65 or older, the time is well overdue to start thinking about where you will live after retirement. Many people choose to remain in their homes, but that’s not always the best option. Sometimes, it makes sense to change your living arrangements to compensate for physical or financial needs.
But how do you choose to leave the home where you raised your children? How do you decide what you need when you don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future? And once you do find the right home, what do you take with you and what do you leave behind?
Side note: If you are reading this during the coronavirus pandemic, moving might not be recommended or ideal at this point in time. However, you can still start planning your downsize for when the lock down is eventually lifted.
Making the decision to move is never easy. It requires bypassing your emotions — specifically your emotional attachment to your home — and making decisions based on facts and probabilities. You can’t ignore that seniors have a greater chance of falling and that one fall increases your risk of falling again.
If you have stairs in your current home, it’s time to think about downsizing to a single-story dwelling. While this will not completely eliminate the chances of falling, not having to navigate stairs will reduce the probability of sustaining a life-threatening injury.
When you’re ready to start researching new properties, begin by looking at homes in your budget and be sure to consider your monthly budget and annual income. If you’re in a competitive housing market, homes can sell quickly, so you will have to act fast when you find a place that fits your idea of the perfect new home.
Looking at your own home’s value can also help you gauge affordability when looking at other houses. Before getting your home ready for listing, use an online tool like a home worth tool to get an estimated figure. In addition to your home’s value, the estimator will give you a history of the home’s sale prices, as well as the sale prices of nearby homes that are similar to yours.
You might be in perfect health today and with a budget that allows for luxuries, but there is no way to tell what will happen even just a few years down the road. You may wind up with issues like cataracts or glaucoma, which can significantly affect your vision. Similarly, arthritis and other bone and joint problems can inhibit your mobility.
When you do decide to move, look for a property that is not just a single-story but that also has an open floor plan. A home with lots of windows and natural light will also help you compensate for a decline in your vision or mobility.
There may come a time when living in your own home is no longer the safest option. At this point, it may be wise to consider assisted living. In this type of facility, you’ll still maintain some independence while receiving help for daily needs such as the administering of medication, meal prep, and housekeeping. Before choosing an assisted living facility, be sure to research the specific amenities you’ll require and how much you can afford to spend. Nationally, the median cost of assisted living is $48,000 annually.
The hardest part about moving is letting go of things you hold dear. You might not be able, for example, to fit your grandmother’s China cabinet into your new space. Sit down with your family to decide who will take ownership of treasured family heirlooms. Those that are unwanted may be donated, or you could host an estate sale, which may generate enough cash so that you can purchase senior-friendly furniture to outfit your new accommodations. Livespace explains that sharp edges and a monochromatic color scheme are not ideal for seniors.
As an added perk, selling your furniture and unnecessary belongings will save you on moving expenses, and you can have your new items delivered before you settle into your new home.
This is far from everything you’ll have to consider when it’s time to move. However, keep in mind that a smaller home is not only easier to navigate, but you aren’t paying for space you don’t use. That third and fourth upstairs bedroom and huge backyard you enjoy now may become a burden as you realize that home is not just an address, but the place where you are safest.
Thank you Andrea of https://www.eldersday.org/ for contributing this article.