Studies show the majority of people prefer living in their existing home for as long as possible. However, "aging in place" can be challenging, especially if the house is multilevel, too large for current needs, requires a lot of maintenance or yard care or is inconveniently located. Downsizing to a smaller house or townhouse may be the answer for those who are physically able to live independently but who are looking for an easier, more accessible, less expensive and safer living space. Additionally, there are several residential retirement communities in the Shreveport-Bossier City area that offer smaller houses or townhouses specifically designed for seniors who are looking for community amenities and opportunities for fellowship.
You might consider the following before deciding on a move:
• Are you regularly using only a small percentage of your current home, yard and garage?
• Are the expenses associated with your existing house affordable? Consider the increased costs of maintaining, repairing, cleaning and upkeep of a large house and yard, as well as the higher taxes, insurance and utility costs of a larger living area.
• Does your present home require extensive remodeling or modifications to make it safer and easily accessible?
• Is your neighborhood in a safe area and easily accessible to friends, relatives, doctors, hospitals, shopping and entertainment?
• Are you staying in your current home to accommodate the kids and grandkids when they come to town for a visit? If so, consider alternatives such as hotels, other relatives in the area, or a townhouse that has several bedrooms but no exterior or yard maintenance.
• Do you resent spending a large amount of your free time, energy and effort on cleaning, yard work and maintenance?
If you decide to move to a smaller space, there are a number of things that can make the transition easier:
• Assess your current situation and determine how much space will accommodate your present and future needs. Enlist the advice of others who have downsized or the aid of a real estate agent or other professional to assist you.
• Reduce the amount you have to move. Begin in an unused room or area of the house, sorting through large items such as furniture, then through the smaller ones. Give any valuable but unnecessary items to family members or friends. Consider selling or donating any unwanted items to a worthy charity.
• Begin packing or hire professional packers and movers. Make sure all boxes are clearly labeled.
• Make sure to set aside essentials for the first few days in your new home so you do not have to spend an inordinate amount of time (not to mention frustration) opening multiple boxes looking for something you need.
I typically recommend anyone considering a move should consult their immediate family members, attorney, accountant and financial planner for advice and guidance before making this and any other major decision.
Moving can be physically exhausting, and sorting through a lifetime accumulation of items can be emotionally draining. Take your time and acknowledge your feelings. Enlist the aid of friends and family or consider hiring a senior move manager who can assist with packing, unpacking, furniture layout, decorating, and arranging for the sale and donation of items.