It is not usual for older adults
whose children have left the home to consider
downsizing. They undoubtedly love their home and all the
memories it holds. However, this beloved home may no
longer fit their needs.
The odds are these adults have been living in their home for decades, and the decision to leave is an emotionally difficult one. So why would they consider leaving what is familiar in order to downsize? Downsizing usually involves giving up a larger space for smaller quarters. There can be any number of reasons seniors may consider this a good move:
Why Seniors Downsize :There is Too Much Room
The now-elderly couple undoubtedly raised a family in their home. When they bought the house many years earlier, it was with the understanding that they needed enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a growing brood of children. However, the children now have homes of their own. There is no longer any need for four bedrooms. A large house usually has too many empty rooms that take up time and energy needing to be kept clean.
A Large House Means More Maintenance
As we age, it can become increasingly difficult to keep up with the daily chores of cleaning and tidying up. There is simply more work to do in a large house. This can become physically taxing for many seniors. In addition to the daily upkeep, there are seasonal needs such as putting up storm windows for the winter and lawn care for the summer. A smaller house or apartment saves human energy because it is much easier to maintain.
A Larger Homes Costs More Money
As seniors struggle with a fixed income, it becomes difficult to pay the mortgage, taxes, and general expenses for upkeep. Moving to a smaller home can translate into money saved every month.
Seniors Have the Freedom to Travel
Many seniors enjoy traveling after having raised their
children. This is their time, now. They either have a "winter" place to visit or
they simply enjoy traveling to new places. For most, it doesn't make sense to
have a large house when they are so rarely living there. Something smaller is
much more practical.
The main, or larger, home can be rented out for extra income.
There is no way to avoid accumulating clutter. Most of it is tucked away because no one has used it in years, some things can be difficult to part with such as boxes with the children's report cards, old holiday cards and magazines that you'll never read but have kept "just in case." And how did you end up with three toasters, anyway? Moving to a smaller place rids most people of any excuse to cling to things they no longer need or use. This doesn't mean they can't keep items of sentimental value, but much of the clutter can be given away or sold off at a yard sale. Letting go of memories can hurt, but sometimes, it is necessary.
It's an unavoidable fact that mobility becomes more difficult as we grew older. Lugging items around a large house or climbing stairs can put seniors at risk of falling. A smaller home, preferably without stairs, is much easier to deal with. Create a Transition Home Sometimes, aging means you need a little extra help. For many seniors, that means moving into an assisted living facility - where they are still independent but a place that provides onsite nurses, meals, and housekeeping. For any senior who is considering an assisted living facility in the future, downsizing can ease the transition.
Have a Downsizing Plan
Moving and/or downsizing won't happen quickly. There shouldn't be any rush.
Give Yourself Time
Start the decluttering process early. Perhaps once a week or twice a month, donate a load to Goodwill. Take it one room at a time.
Forget About the Guilt
Faced with an attic full of memories, it is easy to feel guilt at the thought of tossing anything away. But downsizing makes it necessary. Provide children, grandchildren, and other relatives the opportunity to pick out items they want to take. After that, let go of the guilt and let go of unneeded items. Donate it or toss it.
Put Experts to Good Use
After decades of owning "stuff," you may have no idea how much a lot of it is worth. Is that painting Aunt Cecilia gave you actually worth anything? Could that lovely decanter be an antique? Appraisers and auctioneers are experts who can put a value on some of your belongings.
Another expert to find is a good realtor. Discuss your needs and let him or her find the perfect new home for you in terms of size, amenities, and design.
Letting go of the past is difficult. As you go through years of accumulated items and find yourself uncertain what to do, ask yourself, "Do I need this, or do I just want this?"
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