Is Downsizing A Good Idea For Seniors?
Author: Jim Vogel of Elderaction.org
As you get older and move into your senior years, your life changes. Not only are you less limber and spry, but your lifestyle and needs have changed. And it’s quite possible your old house is not a good fit anymore.
Sure, it worked when you had kids. All that room and land made sense at the time. But now? Mowing the lawn, maintaining an older home, and regularly cleaning a larger home can become too taxing. That’s why many seniors find this is the right time to downsize their home and move somewhere that’s easier to manage and that fits their lifestyle.
Why Seniors Are Downsizing Their Homes
Chances are, you have some trouble even thinking about moving. That old house served you faithfully for so many years, so it’s hard to know when it’s time to move. How do you know if downsizing is good for you?
As HGTV explains, start by asking some questions:
● Does having a big home matter much anymore?
● Will moving into a smaller home feel like a step forward?
● Can you save money by lowering your housing payments?
● Has your neighborhood changed since you first moved in?
● Are you having trouble maintaining your current house?
● Do you have mobility or vision issues with your current home?
The more you answer “yes,” the more you should consider downsizing.
Planning Your Big Move
So you’ve thought about it, talked to your loved ones, and finally decided that it’s time to downsize. That’s great, but it could be a problem if you rush into things. Even if you have already found your dream home, it makes sense to take some time to plan things out.
Moving into a smaller home means you’ll need fewer belongings. That’s why American Senior Communities recommends that you start by sorting your belongings early. Instead of waiting until the last minute and packing everything, start going through the things you managed to accumulate over the years. Decide what you can get rid of and what you need to keep. It might be ideal for some of your belongings to be put into storage.
The next question might be, “How do you get rid of that stuff?” Have a yard sale, donate to a charity, or give things away to your friends and family. Many items are easy to recycle, including old electronics.
If you’re having trouble with organizing everything and creating a plan, look into hiring a Senior Move Manager. As the AARP explains, these professionals are there to help seniors move, especially if the move needs to be a quick one. They are trained to help organize, plan, budget, and more.
Tips For Packing & Moving
Having a moving plan is great, but now that you’re a senior, you can’t lug around the heavy boxes and appliances like you used to. Here are some tips for packing and moving that can make things so much easier for you:
- Ask for help instead of trying to do everything yourself.
- Consider hiring movers. Not only will this enable you to avoid possible injury, but professional movers can get the job done more quickly and efficiently.
- If you do opt to hire movers, do your research first and look for a company that gets good reviews from the Better Business Bureau and that will provide a clear, itemized list of costs associated with the move.
- Collect important documents (taxes, address books, legal documents) and put them in the same box.
- Take frequent breaks when packing and moving.
- Protect any family heirlooms.
If you’re helping a senior move, it’s important to be aware of how big a change this will be. Besides helping with packing and carrying things around, you should check in on them regularly after the move. Making a big change this late in life can be disorientating, but a talk with a friend can really help.
Downsizing Could Work For You
For many seniors, downsizing to a new house just makes sense. It can save a lot of money when your income is reduced, and it can put you in a safer, easier home environment. Talk to a close friend or professional about whether downsizing is right for you. If it is, start by sorting and planning. Then get some help and make that move work.
For help with downsizing, please call Aloha Properties at 808-951-0021. Ask for Yasuko Nelson, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)