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Downsizing Tips for Seniors: How This Can Benefit Your Health and Your Finances

 A long life well-lived tends to accumulate a great deal of things. All that stuff needs space, and by the time you’ve spent decades in the workforce you’re likely to have a large home to house that large collection of things you’ve accumulated over the years. 

But now that you’re ready for retirement, do you need all that space or all that stuff? Probably not. Which means, if you’re being honest with yourself, you should really consider downsizing.  

Many of us tend to think of what we lose when we downsize. But there are a number of good health and financial benefits, even when it might be difficult to say goodbye to your old family home. That’s why we’ve collected these tips on downsizing in retirement to showcase what you’re missing out on by not downsizing! 

Consider This: You’re Wasting Money by Not Downsizing 

The appeal to aging in place is obvious. You get to stay in the home you know and love, the one you’ve been living in for years or even possibly decades at this point. It might even be the place where you raised your family! There are so many good memories leftover, even if those rooms and hallways are a lot less busy today. However, it’s the very size of the place – and the fact that it is a lot more empty than it has been in the past – that could become the issue. Let’s face it – maintaining a big but empty house is, simply put, unnecessarily expensive. 

How bad is it? Well, let’s do an inventory:  

  • Heating and cooling costs 
  • Other utilities like electricity, water, TV, internet, etc. 
  • General home maintenance  
  • Unexpected maintenance and repairs such as roofs, water heaters, etc.  
  • Lawn care and snow removal if you no longer can or want to do it on your own 
  • Plus, even if your home is paid off, property taxes keep increasingly ever year 

Downsizing to a smaller home can decrease some of these costs. Downsizing to an apartment or retirement community can erase many of them.   

Big Family Homes Can be Dangerous 

The expense of taking care of a large family home is obviously one of the biggest reasons to downsize. Our tip for retirees is there’s no need to pay for all that space if you’re going to be the only one using it. But there’s more to it than that; there are legitimate health concerns that arise when choosing to age in place. Examples of this include having to navigate narrow staircases to reach a second-floor bedroom every day or risking a slip and fall in a bathroom that doesn’t have a safety bar or rail.  

You can easily avoid these issues by downsizing and moving to a smaller, single floor home, easily navigable apartment, or retirement community that has safety options built in. You owe it to your health to take steps to preserve it – even the most active and healthy of us can slip and fall by accident. 

Want More Advice? Access a Resources Center of Videos and Webinars on Downsizing.

Healthcare Concerns are a Thing of the Past 

Healthcare is certainly a hot-button topic. Medicare shouldn’t be relied on to cover all your healthcare costs, and out-of-pocket medical bills can quickly become astronomical unless you have additional arrangements in place. Even a healthy senior can end up paying some serious costs, especially as our healthcare needs change as we age – paying these costs in addition to taking care of a family home is likely going to stretch your finances even farther. This is where downsizing to a retirement community can help once again. 

Selecting a retirement community that provides a continuity of care has become a highly popular choice for seniors concerned with healthcare costs, especially seniors with the foresight to prepare for the future. These continuous care retirement communities (CCRCs) adapt to your healthcare needs as they change over time, from independent living and assisted living to skilled nursing and beyond. The best part is that your healthcare costs are set in stone from the moment you move in – costs don’t change just because your needed level of care does. 

Downsizing Can Help You Live Your Best Life

In addition to saving money, downsizing to a retirement community also provides you with dozens of opportunities to live your best life – something that simply can’t be quantified. The amenities you gain access to at a typical retirement community are wide and varied, but they routinely include things like picnic areas, walking trails, gardening spaces, swimming pools, fitness centers, art studios and craft rooms, card and billiards rooms, and much more. All of these amenities give you the opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests or simply enjoy the finer things in life. 

On top of that, these amenities offer retirees the ability to build social bonds with one another. Art and fitness classes, game nights, or simply going on a walk with other residents offers chances to make and deepen friendships that will enrich your life as a retiree. Social interaction and engagement are important aspects of keeping your mind and body in good shape throughout your retirement, and all of these health benefits are only possible if you choose to downsize and move to a retirement community. 

Downsizing is a Great Idea 

These tips for downsizing in retirement all point in the same direction: doing so helps you save money and live a healthier and more fulfilled life. With wanting to live an ideal post-work life while no longer making a work income being one of the biggest hurdles that many seniors have to overcome during their retirement, downsizing helps solve this problem by giving you more capital, plus opening up countless opportunities to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation without having to worry about finances. Combine this with the health benefits of downsizing and there’s really no better way to enjoy your retirement. Embrace the idea of downsizing and you’ll reap the benefits as well!