Are you considering a downsize for yourself or worried about a loved one who’s having trouble at home? Downsizing is a popular move for older adults for more reasons than one. Here’s what to know if you’re considering moving to a smaller home.
There are many reasons seniors downsize including:
- Reducing housing costs in retirement
- Reducing home maintenance
- Improving home safety
- Moving to a more senior-friendly community
- Moving closer to family
Sometimes, downsizing isn’t a matter of choice. Seniors with mobility loss or cognitive decline need to live where they can receive care, which often means moving to an assisted living facility (assisted living in Colorado costs an average of $3,750 a month). Moving when you’d rather stay put is stressful. To ease the transition, family can help research senior living communities and coordinate the move.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease require special consideration, as change is highly stressful for adults with dementia. Try to move early in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease so your senior loved one has an opportunity to adapt to their new living environment. Replicating the layout of a senior’s home in the assisted living unit and decorating with familiar items can also help.
Downsizing Your Home
Some seniors downsize to a tiny home, while others simply eliminate a spare bedroom or two. Consider how much space you need — do you have a guest room that’s always empty or a dining room you never use? Is there a home office and craft room you could combine into one?
Next, compare your home-buying budget to home prices in your preferred area. Are homes in your desired price range within your budget (homes in Colorado Springs have sold for an average of $315,000 over last 30 days), or do you need to shop for a smaller home or look in a nearby suburb? If you’re not finding single-family homes in the price range you want, consider townhomes and condos. These homes are significantly more affordable and often have senior-friendly layouts. Just be sure to factor association fees into your budget.
Downsizing Your Stuff
Don’t wait until you’ve sold your home to start decluttering your attic, basement, closets, and cupboards. Sorting through a house full of stuff will take more time than you imagine.
Be strict about what you keep. It takes much less for small spaces to feel cluttered, and you’re likely to lose storage space in the move. If there are items like family heirlooms or seasonal equipment that you need but don’t have space for, rent a nearby storage facility — just avoid using it for things you should get rid of but can’t. Storage prices in Colorado Springs can be high, but if you shop around you might find a sign-up deal like Mini U Storage’s 50 percent off deal for the first month of rent.
After closing on your new home, take measurements of rooms and compare them to furniture dimensions so you can decide what to move. Even after getting rid of unnecessary items like hutches and recliners, you may find your old furniture is too large for the downsized space.
Packing and Moving
There’s another reason to downsize your possessions: It makes moving far easier. If moving yourself, stick to small and medium-sized boxes and only buy large boxes for items that require them. Packing large boxes might be faster, but small boxes are much easier to lift and unpack. You Move Me has more packing tips to make your move easier.
It’s possible to move yourself, but it’s not preferable. If there’s room in the budget, hire a moving company. At minimum, loading and unloading help will save your back, but some seniors opt for a full-service move with packing and furniture assembly help.
The prospect of moving in your senior years can be stressful. However, most seniors who downsize are happy with their move. As bittersweet as it is to leave behind a home you love, you’ll gain freedom with an age-friendly home in retirement.
Image via Burst