Downsizing is becoming common among seniors, and for a good reason. For one, it could be the difference between a lower mortgage payment (or none at all), freeing up income for leisure and expenses. It also means a much smaller house to keep up, which improves both safety and accessibility. So if you’ve been toying with the idea of downsizing, the following are some pieces of advice you should take to heart.
Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Is It Time to Downsize?
There’s no definitive answer to this question because there are several scenarios in which it makes sense to downsize. For example, you could have a home with many unused rooms or one that isn’t conducive to aging in place, or you may have unmanageable monthly expenses and difficulty keeping up with cleaning and maintenance.
How to Begin the Downsizing Process
You’re downsizing your home, but you’ll also need to reduce everything to fit comfortably in your new home. Where do you begin? Before you start, there are some smaller details you should handle first before tackling the downsizing process. Take photos of your home to keep as souvenirs, sort through/purge paperwork, and label photographs. Decide what you’d like to gift to family and friends, as it isn’t feasible or fair to pay for storage items they aren’t yet ready to accept.
Once you’ve done this work, you can get started downsizing by first taking inventory of all your things and sorting them into piles to keep, give away, donate, sell, or throw away. Then, measure your new space with a tape measure to determine what furniture will fit and what needs to go. Finally, there are some items that you should be able to easily let go of, such as duplicate items, unwanted/unworn clothing, miscellaneous gadgets, clutter, and anything you’re currently paying to keep in storage.
Finding the Right Home
Once you see all the homes on the market, you may feel a little overwhelmed. Remind yourself that this means you have plenty of options, ensuring you find the right home without compromising wants and needs. So, what should you look for? You might already have your list of must-haves, but don’t lose sight of the big picture, which is a smaller, accessible, safe, and senior-friendly home.
Start by pinpointing the best location, whether near family or close to stores, health care facilities and entertainment. Don’t forget about senior-specific amenities, such as the size and layout. For example, a claw-foot tub is gorgeous, but an accessible bathtub/shower or portable walk-in tub is more practical and safe. You will likely find that whatever home you choose needs some modifications to make it accessible, such as grab bars, ramps, or widened doorways, so be sure to factor this into the price.
However, it is essential to note that downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean moving to a smaller home. If you need additional assistance with daily activities, your health has declined, or you’re experiencing safety concerns such as trips, falls, or confusion, now could be the time to put some serious thought into downsizing to an assisted living facility. Schedule some assisted living tours, and you’ll see that assisted living may not be what you’d expect because you can still be self-sufficient in this environment. The average monthly assisted living cost in Orlando ranges from $1,500 to $7,770, so you’ll want to do an extensive search and take your time.
If you still plan to age at home, will you need to apply for a new mortgage? These days you can go through the whole application and funding process online.
Many seniors have to downsize. So instead of toying with the idea, take the first step in actually doing it. Although it’s a big step, the benefits of doing so make it a leap worth taking in your golden years.
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