Moving into your senior years comes with an exclusive set of challenges and adventures, and the transition is different for everyone. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your needs, wants, and expectations when making moving decisions.
You’ll want to make a choice that supports your own unique emotionally, physically, and financially for the long term, a choice that is right for you. Then, you can right-size your living situation! Rightsizing is less about downsizing or compromising, but meeting you where you are, on your own terms.
Knowing yourself is an important part of rightsizing your senior years. After all, you know your needs, wants, and expectations better than anyone else in your life. Start with what is most certain and potentially prohibitive; like anything else, this will be different for everyone.
Finances are a prime example. Taking careful stock of your financial needs will allow you to make informed decisions about your living expenses. Make sure to include unforeseen medical expense in your planning! When considering your move, assess your physical needs and wellness and ensure that your choice provides you access to the medical care you need—even if you don’t need it right now. You should also have easy access to people, places, and activities that bring you joy. Your emotional health is a critical aspect of rightsizing your living, and you should always ensure that you have a strong emotional support system wherever you choose to reside.
These days, senior living is incredibly diverse, catering to an array of lifestyles and care needs. Some seniors choose to move from large family homes to smaller houses or apartments, where the space is more manageable. Retirement residences are other excellent options, providing seniors with various levels of care and support.
Independent living and assisted living are fairly similar, highlighting an independent lifestyle supplemented with a wide variety of service options. For example, seniors in independent living have easy access to medical treatment and entertainment, receive minimal assistance and can opt into a variety of convenient services. Those in assisted living have access to these same services but are provided with more assistive services included in the rental fees. These can include cleaning, meal preparation, transportation, laundry services, and more.
Long term care includes all of these services, as well as additional support for seniors with more significant care needs such as eating, bathing, and toileting. All of these retirement living options provide a rich community network that supports holistic senior living that is right for every individual.
Decluttering Before Your Move
Wherever you choose to rightsize, decluttering is essential. Purging your home of untouched, unnecessary, or unusable items is not only practical, it’s also a cathartic way to let go and move forward into your new life. Start by taking careful inventory of your belongings and keep only what you need. This can be a difficult task. Items often carry sentimental value and can be hard to part with. If this happens to you, try putting items in a box for 30 days. At the end of that period, if you’re ready let go (or if you’ve forgotten what is in the box), discard it!
You can sell valuables and donate gently used items to local organizations and refugee centers. Large items such as appliances, carpets, furniture, and mattresses can often be disposed of with the help of waste removal companies who salvage what they can for donation or recycling. Anything left behind can be tossed in the landfill but save this step until you have exhausted all other possibilities.
Moving is always a bit stressful—something that you want to avoid as much as possible when rightsizing your life. Once you’ve chosen a place and decluttered your stuff, it’s time to get it on the move. Hiring professional packers is a surefire way to mediate moving anxiety while lowering your risk of injury. While these services can be expensive, they are worth it!
There are even companies that specialize in senior moving, and are particularly adept at easing emotional and physical stress for older movers. If you do go this route, be sure to do a final walk through once everything is unpacked—you’ll want your home to be accessible to your physical needs once the movers have left.
Take care of paperwork and logistics well in advance; change your address, especially on any services and financial assistance you may be receiving. Research medical care, social services, and other necessities in the area surrounding your new home. This way, you will be ready to settle in and start living your rightsized life.
Photo Credit – Move Seniors Lovingly
Article contributed by Haley Kieser