Downsizing for Seniors: How to Make the Process Easier

As a senior, downsizing may make sense for a number of reasons. With children out of the house, you may no longer have a need for such a large dwelling. Also, financial or health concerns may prompt you to move. When downsizing, you can choose from a variety of housing options.

Picking a New Place

Buying a smaller house or condo

For those who are healthy and want to remain independent, a smaller house or condominium could be the answer. A study from Boston College’sCenter for Retirement Research shows that downsizing from a $250,000 home to a $150,000 home can save $6,250 per year. Look in neighborhoods that offers proximity to medical care, family members, or other things that are important to you. Also, consider your accessibility needs. Walkers and wheelchairs need wide hallways and doorways. Homes with stairs and steps should be avoided, if possible. Bathrooms that are retrofitted with grab bars, shower benches, and touchless faucets are also safer and more convenient for older adults.

Moving in with a family member

Many seniors choose to move in with their adult children or other family members. According toGenerations United, one in five American households are multigenerational. Before deciding to move in with your adult child or another relative, have a frank discussion about expectations on both sides in terms of caregiving needs, household expenses, privacy concerns, and so forth. If you talk honestly, this type of arrangement can be beneficial for everyone in the household.

Transitioning to assisted living

For those who need help with daily tasks,assisted living may be the right option. Assisted living facilities allow you to retain some sense of independence. However, they can also provide assistance with bathing, dressing, and toileting, along with dining programs, transportation arrangements, housekeeping services, medication administration, social activities, 24-hour security, and medical or nursing care when necessary.

Preparing Your Home to Sell

Declutter, sell, and donate

If you have decided to sell your current home in order to downsize, you need to start by decluttering. For many people, decluttering can be anemotional experience because of the memories associated with their belongings. Start slow and tackle one room at a time. Remember that photos and documents can be stored digitally. For each item, ask yourself: Will it fit in the new space? Do you actually use it or get any joy from it?

After you’ve determined what you want to keep, hold a garage sale or beginselling items online. A large downsizing sale can attract a lot of buyers and yield a big profit. For things you can’t sell, pass them on to a family member or donate to a charity.

Get your home listed

Hire a real estate broker who is familiar with your neighborhood and can try to maximize your profit. Your agent can suggest any necessary renovation work, help you get your home staged properly, and take professional listing photos. When planning to put your home on the market, the day of the week that you first list your home definitely matters. According to Redfin, Thursday is the best day to debut new listings. Their research concluded that homes listed on Thursdays sold five days faster than homes listed on Sundays (the listing day that takes the longest to find a buyer).

Making your move

When you are ready to physically move, don’t take on too much on your own. Enlist the help of friends, family, or a professional moving company. If you find you have stuff that won’t fit in your new place, put it in storage for now and allow yourself time to settle into your new home.

Though downsizing can be difficult, smaller homes are less expensive and easier to maintain. For seniors, the monetary savings can make it easier to live on a budget, while fewer maintenance-related demands allow for less physical stress and more time to engage in fulfilling activities. Wherever you choose to live as you age, make sure it’s a place where you can be safe, happy, and healthy.

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