Senior Citizens are living and working longer than ever before. The days of retiring at 65 have mostly come and gone. As a result, it has become more important than ever to begin downsizing earlier in your twilight years, thus relieving familial stress at the first sign of illness or inability to care for themselves. Here are several things to consider as you begin the downsizing process:
Begin downsizing early.
You might not be ready to move to a retirement home quite yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. Start your research now – where do you see yourself after you living? Would you want to be near family? What about any local groups you’re part of? These are all factors to consider. Another important factor is cost – your finances will look different after you have retired and into your twilight years. Look into your options, and don’t be afraid to email or call facilities if you have more questions. The earlier you start, the easier this transition will be.
Talk to your family about your wishes.
Your family wants to help, but it’s likely they don’t know exactly what you want. This is a great opportunity for you to sit down with your loved ones over dinner, explain what you would like life to look like when you get to the point you can’t care for yourselves, and tell them how they can help. If your loved ones are eager to assist you through this process, consider giving individual family members specific assignments. For instance, a niece or nephew can start looking up senior living facilities in the area, while a grandson can help you research pricing. Dividing the responsibilities allows your family to help while relieving you of some stress.
Consult with an estate attorney or an accountant.
Once you’ve made the decision it’s time to move, it’s hard to know how to start. You want to make sure your property and belongings are cared for and donated as you see fit. This is where hiring an expert can be helpful. Meet with an estate attorney or an accountant and ask them for any tips or recommendations they would make for your transition. They will be able to help you secure your finances, decide what to do with your existing property and home, and give you ideas on the most successful way to make a smooth move into your new life.
Plan ahead purging.
When it comes to cleaning and decluttering, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Try going room by room through your house and deciding what you absolutely have to keep. Some items, like tax documents, birth certificates, etc., make sense to hold onto. But other items can either go into storage or be donated to someone in need. As you go through your belongings, ask yourself if this is something you would really miss in your new home, or if you would be just as happy giving it to a granddaughter. Look into affordable storage options for the items you really want to keep but don’t have room for as you move. And don’t forget to organize! This is a great opportunity to sort and file important documents, family photos, and other items you want to keep.
Know where you want to go.
What does your ideal life look like when you have to go to the senior living community? Do your research and decide what makes the most sense for you. Consider making a list of pros and cons about each type of facility you research – note the location, cost, activities available, proximity to family, level of assistance provided, and any other important details you want to consider. As you narrow down your options, keep making your lists so can refer back to them before you make your final decision. While we urge you not to wait until you’re ready to retire to start looking into this, we also understand it’s a big decision – allow yourself time to make the right one.
How can a HALO help?
We know retirement is on the horizon, but you’re not quite there yet. That means you’re busy working, making time for your family, and keeping up with your community. You have a lot of choices to make and they can seem overwhelming. Let us help you with some of the details. Once you know where you want to go, we’ll work with you to set up a timeline for the moving process, and even help you pack your belongings and get settled in your new home. This allows you to focus on the important things in your life while we work behind the scenes to make your transition into retired living as smooth as possible.