There are times in life when change is a good thing, even if it isn’t easy. For seniors, downsizing your home can be one of those changes that feels scary at first but may end up making your life happier and more carefree. When you or your senior loved one is considering downsizing, a few big questions remain: why, where, and how to go about making this move as easy as possible.

Why Downsize?

Having a large home may have been perfect for your lifestyle before, but many seniors find that having lots of space (plus lots of yard to maintain) has become a burden. HomeAdvisor notes how “having fewer financial- and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home.”

Along with why, you may find yourself wondering when is the right time to downsize. Some people wait until they have a harder time getting around in their home. Others decide to make the move sooner rather than later. Downsizing earlier has some benefits because it allows you more time to make the right decision and make the transition easier.

Where to Go?

One of the most important things to consider is whether you or your loved one has reached a point where living at home, even a smaller home, is no longer best. If you’re thinking about downsizing because mobility is an issue, ask yourself whether you could remain independent in a more accessible home or whether you would still need help with everyday tasks. For seniors who need some daily assistance, as well as those who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, an assisted living center may be the safest option. Another sign that assisted living is the best choice is when a family caregiver is no longer able to provide what a senior needs. 

There are many different choices for assisted living centers in West Palm Beach, the average price of which generally runs between $1,500 and $11,010 per month. These facilities offer a variety of amenities to make life happy, comfortable, and healthy for seniors. Most have apartment-style dwellings, along with common spaces, and they provide meals, social activities, and help with things like bathing, dressing, and medication. If this is the right option for yourself or your loved one, you’ll want to research available centers where you live and the steps you can take to choose the best one. 

For some seniors who are ready to downsize, assisted living isn’t necessary, but they still want less maintenance and more accessibility. If you decide to buy a new home, the important thing when searching is to think about the accessibility features you may need in the future. The other big consideration is how a home fits into your financial picture. You may find that a condo or townhome is ideal because there is less maintenance involved, but be sure to find out whether the community also has HOA or other fees.

How to Make It All Go Smoothly?

The “how” of downsizing includes sorting through everything in your home, packing, moving, unpacking, and settling in. Since you’re moving to a smaller space, you probably won’t be able to take everything with you. Start with the big things you may not have room for. If your furniture has value, Kiplinger recommends selling them online or through an auction. 

Purging the small stuff can be a little trickier — and emotional. The first thing you should do is sort through what you no longer want or need. After you do that, Money Crashers recommends planning your storage based on the closet, cabinet, and floor space you’ll have in the new home. This will give you a sense of how much stuff is left over that you still need to account for.

Sorting, packing, and even choosing the right place to downsize is a highly emotional process. These feelings are entirely normal, but try not to focus on what you’re leaving behind. Instead, seniors and their loved ones should remember that downsizing is also a vehicle for creating your best life in retirement.

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