Downsizing a Home, Upsizing a Life as You Age

When we consider the idea of moving, it is sometimes with excitement and sometimes with caution! While we are young, we look at moving as an improvement and achievement; that next level of adulthood. However as we get older, the idea of moving comes with thoughts of sorting, packing, or lifting and it often means moving to a smaller setting, not a bigger one. Thinking of what to pack before you even decide to move is like putting the cart before the horse!

Those thoughts of sorting through possessions and possibly getting rid of them is the one that quickly overwhelms people to the point of putting off a move altogether. Deciding what to keep versus what to toss, what you need versus what you want, and what to do with everything else in between is enough to take all the excitement out of an exciting life event! Another factor that can be intimidating is where you are moving to. For adults over the age of 55, that new location may be an independent living community. In this case, the process is thought of a little differently.

Whether you’re moving to the Edgewood Communities on the Lutheran Campus in Jamestown or to another senior living campus in the area, a lot of good can come to the lives of individuals or couples who make the leap. The first thing to understand is that independent living communities are NOT what you imagine and they are not an assisted living program or a nursing home. Independent living communities are just that: independent. You can work if you want to, volunteer if you want to, travel if you want to, etc. Your life is your own as it was before, just in a new location with fewer headaches associated with property ownership.

Independent living options can include small homes, duplexes, or apartment style living. Although you may be losing some square footage in certain living spaces compared to others, what you gain in terms of personal time, access to outdoor recreation, health resources and leisure amenities will far outweigh the loss of an indoor footprint. After all, who wants to spend all their time indoors?

“But where do I begin?” is the question I hear most. The process will always begin with the decision to move. After that, you find the place you want to move to. After you sign your rental agreement, I always suggest to my Senior Life Matters clients to make a “short move”; spend time in your new home taking only what you think you will need during that time. Leaving your former residence alone for a few weeks and then going back will help you identify what you truly need versus what you can live without. At that point, you can consider an estate sale or donating what is left behind. By making sure you have all you need in your new home, the stuff you leave behind has less angst and heartache!

We always look back and find things we should have done differently, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move if it means we can have a better quality of life with more peace and happiness time to do what we enjoy. Moving just requires preparation, advice, and (sometimes) a little help!