When it’s time to transition to a simpler existence for your golden years, downsizing is the key to making it all happen. With some careful planning and a structured approach, the process of letting go of several decades’ worth of belongings can be easier than you may think. And while the COVID-19 pandemic presents additional considerations, it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks — there’s plenty you can do to work towards downsizing right now.
Getting Ready to Sell Your Home
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your current home, it’s time to take stock of your belongings. Because you’ll be downsizing, this is the perfect time to get rid of extra clutter that won’t fit into your new living space. Once you know where you’d like to live next, you can begin to pare down those items that won’t fit into your new living space. Letting go of personal keepsakes is more difficult. Give yourself time to go through these items, and follow a few guiding principles to help you let go of sentimental items, such as family heirlooms.
Finding the Right Home for Your Retirement
When considering what’s next, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions when you determine where to move. Do you want the independence of your own apartment in the city? Or, would you prefer to be with other seniors in an intentional community? If you have health concerns, you may be more comfortable in an assisted living home. Consult family, do plenty of research, and visit different living options to see what feels right for your next home.
Senior Living Arrangements
There are many different types of senior living arrangements, but the two most common are independent living communities and assisted living facilities. Assisted facilities provide constant care, from shopping and meal preparation to bathing and taking care of doctor appointments. If you struggle with health concerns or mobility issues, assisted living could be a great option.
Independent senior living communities (such as senior villages or intentional communities) are more hands-off, but still provide access to services such as medical care, along with the bonus of living around other seniors. Most communities will have amenities such as dining halls to help prevent feelings of isolation.
However, more and more seniors are choosing to live in personal homes, whether on their own or with loved ones. Older adults who live alone can make life simpler by hiring people to help them with everyday tasks, like cleaning, lawn work, and even grocery shopping. Another option is hiring a caregiver to visit them as needed. Loved ones of seniors can also be hired as paid caregivers, although they’ll need credentialed training. Assisted Living Training School offers caregiver certification to friends and family members of seniors who want to support older adults who wish to continue living in a private (but downsized) home.
Do Your Research
Spend some time looking online for housing in your area and get a feel for the prices of homes that match your needs. In Tempe, for instance, homes sold for around $350,000 over the past 30 days or so. By checking out online real estate sites, you’ll get a feel for how home prices have changed from month to month, and whether that trend is rising or falling. By doing your research, you can aim to buy when the market is favorable.
Planning Your Home Sale and Move
Once you’ve found the perfect home for your transition, hire a trustworthy real estate agent and be as flexible with your timeline as possible. Selling during a pandemic requires more time, so muster up some patience and lean on technology by offering virtual tours and video showings to help you find the right buyer.
When you find a buyer and have decided on a new home, you’ll be ready to plan the logistics of your move. Lean on friends and family if you can, and hire a moving company if possible. If you’ve decluttered and pared down your belongings, the moving process will be much easier.
Moving in the COVID-19 Era
Getting ready for a major life change during the COVID-19 pandemic can be very challenging, but there are small steps you can take now to get you started on the process of moving, such as decluttering and research.
Because seniors are at greater risk for coronavirus, it’s wise to limit your movement until the situation improves in your area. Take guidance from local health authorities, and be sure to check in with any senior living communities before visiting.
Moving is never an easy process, but following these tips will help make the transition as smooth as possible. Do the groundwork first: decluttering and researching possible living arrangements are great initial steps while you wait out the pandemic.