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Resources for Seniors

The Advantages of Downsizing For Seniors

As adult children begin to host family gatherings and the burden of home maintenance begins to overwhelm, many seniors choose to downsize for retirement. There are many benefits of downsizing, but the biggest is that older adults will get back the luxury of time: time to explore new passions and make new connections. This is especially true for those who choose to relocate to a senior living community

According to a 2022 study by Merrill Lynch, roughly 64% of retirees have either moved after retirement or are anticipating a move soon, with 51% of those surveyed moving into a smaller home. Retirees who decided to downsize listed gaining freedom from the financial and maintenance burdens of owning a larger home as the primary reasons behind their decisions. This freedom brings with it more time to spend on the things you love, cultivating your passions, and growing your social circle

Whether you’re yearning to live closer to family and friends or crave a resort-style community that can support your mental and physical health, downsizing your home to a senior living apartment can be the answer. Explore the many benefits of downsizing for seniors, and get practical tips to help you navigate the process.

When to Downsize – Getting Started

Your downsizing timeline may depend on many factors, including family dynamics, health changes, and financial considerations. However, many senior living residents find that they wish they had started sooner. With decades of memories to sift through and belongings to categorize and consider, the process can be longer than you anticipate. Even if you don’t plan to make a move in the next year or two, starting the downsizing process now can save you time and headache later.

senior couple laughing together on a couch in their senior apartment home

The Advantages of Downsizing For Seniors

  1. You can choose the home you need now. Back when your children were young, you probably selected a house based on school district, your commute time, the number of extra bedrooms and bathrooms, and whether or not the yard offered enough space for games of tag or a treehouse. Now, you still need to upkeep that expansive lawn, climb all those flights of stairs to do the laundry, and maintain those extra spaces. When you downsize, you can choose the home that’s perfect for your current needs, not the life you lived forty years ago. 
  2. Smaller homes usually mean more affordable homes. With less square footage, you have less to maintain, less to clean, and less space to furnish. Heating and cooling bills are much lower. A smaller home means a smaller yard to mow or rake (and maybe a smaller driveway to shovel and de-ice in the winter months). And if you’re downsizing to a senior living community, all of that outdoor maintenance is often included in your monthly fee. Imagine the freedom!
  3. Your quality of life can greatly improve. Your family home isn’t home to your family anymore. And chances are good that your neighbors and your neighborhood have changed over the years. Consequently, you may find you’re feeling more alone and isolated. Downsizing from a house to an apartment in an independent senior living community means having the opportunity to live among people with similar interests, life experiences, and backgrounds. Friendly neighbors are always just outside your door, ready to engage when you are.
  4. You’re giving a gift to yourself and your family members. Older adults often hold on to possessions, thinking their children, grandchildren, or other relatives will want those items. But unless you ask your family members what they may want, you might be hanging onto things for no reason. You’ll also be giving them the gift of peace of mind and the assurance that your new home is one that can help you stay connected.

So, have the conversation with them now. Ask your family members if they’d like to put their names on a few items that are meaningful to them. And if you’re ready, give those items to the designated person. You’ll know your item went to a place where it will be loved – and it’s one less item to move, donate, sell, or discard.

Another advantage of downsizing is that you won’t leave a house full of things for your children to sift through. You’ll be the one who decides what will happen to your belongings, and you’ll know what your loved one received and which treasured items. And, you’ll have reduced the emotional and physical stress on your family and friends, who would ordinarily be the ones left to deal with your personal belongings.

senior man and his son help to move him into a senior living community

Senior Downsizing Tips to Get Started

Sometimes, getting started can truly be the hardest part. The trick is to take the process one small step at a time, with an emphasis on small

  1. Start small. Look at smaller living spaces before you start downsizing. You’ll get a good idea of the footprint you’re dealing with. For example, at a senior living community like at Oak Trace, there are four different one-bedroom apartment floor plans varying in square footage and layouts, so you have options in how your furniture and other possessions will work in your space.
  2. Start early. Right now is a great time to get started. When you start early, before you have to make a move, you can take your time and put your full focus on your downsizing process.
  3. Designate a place for the big items before you move them. Packing and moving is easy if you just throw everything haphazardly into the moving truck. But if you’re moving into a smaller space, you’ll have less space to stage and unpack boxes.

Once you pick out a floor plan, get familiar with the square footage. Measure the floor space of each piece of furniture. And think about which pieces you treasure and must bring, and which ones you can let go of. Think of moving like bricks and mortar: big pieces of furniture are the bricks. Then, fill in with smaller pieces, like mortar, once you get the large pieces identified and in the right spots.

  1. Eliminate the rooms you no longer have. If you currently have a den, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an attic – but don’t have these rooms in your new home – consider what to do with those rooms’ worth of unwanted items. For example, they can be sold in a yard sale, donated, or discarded.
  2. Pace yourself. If you start early, you can take your time. You didn’t accumulate all these items overnight. You won’t go through it all overnight, either. And that’s perfectly ok. If you want to enlist friends or family members to help, do it. If you’d rather go through everything on your own, do that. It’s your home and your possessions, and you should decide what happens to them. The whole goal is to make your life easier once you’re done – that same rule of thumb should apply to the process of downsizing, too.

Downsize to Resort-Style Senior Living at Oak Trace

Moving to a senior living community isn’t just about finding a new home—it gives you a chance to explore your passions, build meaningful connections, and enjoy a life of continued purpose and enrichment. Downsizing to senior living at Oak Trace means making space for the things that matter most in life. To learn more about our senior living options, call us at 1.888.679.2568 or fill out the form on this page.

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