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Downsizing is becoming an increasingly common term with the senior population, and for good reason. Health and finances play a huge part in the decision to downsize, but even if you aren’t hard pressed to make a move now, you don’t know what the future holds. According to AARP housing expert Rodney Harrell, “It is better to take a proactive approach to housing as you age. Moving is hard at any age, and it only becomes more difficult as we grow older.” Your home needs to meet your needs now and down the road, and downsizing accomplishes both.

Assess Your Current Health First

Living at home for as long as possible is everyone’s goal, but unfortunately it isn’t always feasible. Use this checklist courtesy of Premier Health to help you decide whether it is safe to continue living on your own. If you would like to maintain some of your independence while still getting the help you need, consider touring a few local assisted living facilities and settling on one that fits your needs. Here, you’ll receive assistance with daily activities (bathing, dressing, functional mobility, etc.), as well as the opportunity to participate in wellness programs, social outings, and cultural events. It can get pricey, though, so research facilities. The monthly cost for assisted living in Illinois averages $4,050.

If a New Home is the Next Step…

So you’ve decided that downsizing is the next step, but now what? First, run some numbers to get a clear picture of how much you’ll save by downsizing, including the mortgage, taxes, home insurance, utilities, and maintenance costs. Take a look at the space you currently have and what is going unused. Work with an agent on  our team to get an idea of the costs associated with both selling your current home and buying a new one. A realtor will also be able to help you find homes in your price range that are senior-friendly and perfect for aging in place. Pay attention to the senior amenities and attractions as well.

Less Space Means Less Stuff

You’ll be moving to a smaller house, which means far less storage space. Rather than feel upset when everything won’t fit in your new home, take the time to downsize your stuff now. Get the measurements on your new home and plan accordingly. Now is the time to decide what furniture fits and what needs to go, along with the years’ worth of items you’ve filled your home with. As you sort, keep reminding yourself that you need to opt for quality over quantity. Downsizing brings a tidal wave of emotions, but it’s completely normal. Bring in family and friends for emotional support, and find creative ways to save memories such as via a photo album or gifting items to loved ones.

Don’t Dread Moving Day

Moving is bittersweet, but don’t let the big day bring you dread. Plan fun activities leading up to moving day such as one last dinner party in your old home, a packing party, or a gathering with family to reminisce and write down memories. Hire local movers so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of moving large, heavy pieces out the door. You can instead focus on getting the new home ready for move-in by doing a quick clean, turning on utilities, and drawing out a general map for what you want to go where.

Downsizing is beginning to become a natural part of aging. You’ll find that it enables you live in your home for as long as possible, securing a safe present and future. All you have to do is downsize your home to upsize your golden years.

Guest Post by: Michael Longsdon

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