The Baby Boomer generation has hit senior citizen status and many of them are finding themselves with houses and properties that are now way too much for their needs. But when, exactly, should a senior citizen consider downsizing their property to something a little more manageable?
Here are some general ideas on downsizing for seniors and what you need to know about this next step in your life:
– When talking about downsizing, there are several options that are out there and each one fits into your individual needs. Some people will decide that they want to move into a senior retirement community, although many may balk at this at first. Although it may be hard to peg down an average age for seniors to enter these communities (we’ve seen averages ranging from 70 to 84), most of them do have a minimum age before you can move in. Even here, though, the average entry age can range from 55 to 65, so there’s plenty of “wiggle room” and not a hard and fast standard for entry.
– Another option is to simply move into a smaller home, condo, or apartment. This usually comes when the kids move out of the house and a couple realizes that the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home they needed for their family is now just too big. Generally, a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom (or even just a 1-bedroom) is sufficient for a senior couple or individual. The 2-bedroom option still gives you space if the grandkids come to visit but it also features other positives. First, a smaller home will cut down on your heating and air costs, saving you money now that your income may also be diminished due to retirement. Also, a smaller home is easier to maintain, especially if your physical well-being is diminishing and you find that you can’t clean as much as you once did. Smaller homes are also easier to keep from being dangerous to seniors. Seniors’ biggest home concerns can be falls, and if a home is too large and cluttered with years of accumulated stuff, it can be harder to move around without bumping into things.
– Finally, many people look to downsizing as a means of moving to a new locale, preferably somewhere warmer. Florida and Arizona have always been destination spots for retirees, but the sky is the limit here.
Ultimately, when you should think about downsizing is up to your individual needs. You need to consider just how much house you want, whether or not you want to move to a completely new region of the country, or if you want to join the shared camaraderie of a retirement community. Regardless of when you choose to downsize, it is important to determine what your needs are and how to best meet those as you get older.