The Upside to Senior Downsizing
While the family home may hold many years of happy memories, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best place for seniors to live in their golden years.
Keeping up with housework and yard work may have become too time-consuming or difficult. Perhaps a multi-floor design has made mobility challenging. Seniors who no longer drive may start feeling socially isolated. Even if the house is paid off, taxes can be harder to manage on a fixed income.
By selling their current home, seniors can downsize to a smaller, less expensive home or move into a senior living community. Here at Hearthstone, we’ve seen how downsizing can bring seniors a welcome sense of freedom, and the opportunity to more fully enjoy a whole new phase of life.
Consider the benefits
The initial thought of downsizing may seem overwhelming, or even sad. But there are many benefits seniors can gain by moving out of a larger home and into a smaller one:
- Lower costs. Moving into a smaller home or apartment can reduce many fixed monthly expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities and insurance. In addition, having fewer financial responsibilities can help reduce stress and worry.
- More free time. A smaller house means less maintenance, indoors and out. Seniors who move into a senior living community can say goodbye to cleaning, yard work, cooking, laundry and other tiresome chores — as well as have more time for hobbies, socializing and leisure activities.
- A better floorplan. The family home likely has rooms that are no longer needed or stairs that are increasingly cumbersome to manage. A one-level design with more open space is easier for seniors with mobility issues to navigate.
- Less clutter. Downsizing enables seniors to “get out from under” decades of accumulated belongings. If there are sentimental items in the home, they can be given to adult children or other family members to enjoy now.
- New friendships. A seniors-only subdivision or a senior living community is a wonderful place to make new friendships, and to socialize with others in the same stage of life.
Managing the process
Seniors who’ve lived in the same home for many years may be surprised at how much “stuff” there is to sort through as they decide which possessions to keep, which to give to friends or family, which to sell, and which to donate to charity. Even though it’s a big task, downsizing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some helpful tips for making the process smoother and easier to manage:
Get a head start. Moving can be stressful and difficult for anyone, but it’s often harder for seniors. Adult children can encourage their parents to start gradually sorting through their belongings bit by bit over time, even before the downsizing decision is made. This allows enough time to sell, gift or donate belongings before it becomes a stressful “must do now” situation.
Think long-term. While your loved one may be looking to downsize to a smaller home, at some point the extra support of assisted living or memory care could be neededd. Is a “second downsizing” something you’re willing to do in the future? If not, consider a senior living community like Hearthstone at Murrayhill that allows residents to easily transition as their care needs increase by offering every option from independent living to assisted living to memory care all on one campus.
Make a plan. Think about the new space your loved one is moving into: What will fit there? What do they really need? (Hint: Anything that’s been gathering dust in a garage, attic or basement for the last decade probably isn’t essential.) Allow at least six weeks to pare down belongings before listing the house for sale. Set a schedule for each room and start with the most cluttered ones first. Once those rooms are done, it will be easier to take on the rest of the house.
Stay positive. It’s perfectly normal for seniors (and yes, even their adult children) to have mixed emotions about selling the family home or parting with nostalgic possessions. Stay positive by focusing on the benefits of downsizing. Think of it as the beginning of something new and exciting — a great “next chapter” in life. Those feelings of happy anticipation and fresh possibilities can help take the bittersweet edge off of downsizing.
Ask for help. Anyone who’s moved before knows it’s a lot of hard work — especially after years of living (and accumulating belongings!) in one house. Need some help with the planning and physical work? Hearthstone has a preferred list of Senior Move Managers who specialize in assisting older adults from the planning to
the downsizing There are businesses that specialize in moving older adults. Don’t be shy about asking friends and family to lend a hand. Not only can they help with packing and heavy lifting, they can offer emotional support in making difficult decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
Enjoy life at Hearthstone
Hearthstone is a wonderful option for seniors who are thinking about downsizing — and are ready to start making the most of worry-free living.
Our communities are expressly designed to accommodate seniors’ needs, so they can be happy, healthy, socially active, and maintain a high quality of life.
Hearthstone residents enjoy comfortable apartments, delicious meals, beautiful outdoor spaces, and a wide range of engaging activities every day.
With two different Hearthstone communities in Beaverton, finding the right “fit” is easy. Come see for yourself! We invite you to contact us and set up a personal tour today.