Key Benefits of Downsizing for Older Adults (or Anyone Who Wants to Simplify Their Life)

benefits of downsizing

Are you thinking about selling your home and moving? While it’s common for homeowners to plan on moving to a larger house when they sell, there may be many reasons to downsize your home instead.

Some of the more typical reasons for downsizing a house are to save time and money, or to live in a home that requires less maintenance. Some homeowners no longer need all of the space in their current home.

Regardless of your age, you may also discover some of the unexpected benefits of downsizing your home. For instance, living in a home that’s better suited to your circumstances — often referred to as “right sizing” — can enhance your psychological well-being.

As with any important decision, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons of downsizing before making up your mind. It’s likely also a good idea to consult with a financial adviser, as there may be factors specific to your situation that need to be taken into consideration.

A Simpler Lifestyle Is One of the Top Downsizing Benefits

After decades filled with the responsibilities of raising a family and pursuing career goals, many older adults find they’re ready to embrace a simpler way of living. Their priorities shift, and they’re eager to devote a greater share of their time to activities that are more personally rewarding.

Whether you’re 38 or 83, letting go of a large house (and the stuff in it) you no longer need or want can bring a sense of relief. Cleaning, repairing and maintaining all of that square footage, along with the yardwork, requires considerably more time, money and energy than a smaller home does.

Older adults who explore the option of moving into a senior living community will find the homes there require far less of their time and energy. In a retirement community, the staff takes care of repairs, landscaping, snow removal and general upkeep of interior and exterior common areas. These communities typically offer housekeeping and laundry services as well.

With fewer home-related chores and projects demanding your time and attention, you’ll be able to do more of what you enjoy, like:

  • Traveling, near or far
  • Visiting and socializing with friends and family
  • Pursuing your favorite pastimes
  • Discovering new interests
  • Taking better care of yourself and those you care about

The Chance to Declutter Is Another Benefit of Downsizing

Moving to a smaller home provides an opportunity to get better organized. Although the task of going through your belongings and shedding what you no longer need may seem challenging, the physical and psychological rewards may be well worth the effort.

WebMD offers tips for decluttering, along with information about the potential benefits you can derive from having a tidier living environment, such as:

  • Achieving better focus (because there are fewer distractions)
  • Feeling more in control of your surroundings (which can lead to better self-esteem)
  • Being more comfortable inviting guests into your home
  • Improving your physical health (for example, through allergy relief or better sleep)
  • Reducing stress (as well as anxiety or depression, if those are issues for you)
  • Helping to lower your risk of falling and the injuries that could result

The Financial Advantages of Downsizing

As previously mentioned, you may want to consult a financial adviser or other expert to see what benefits you could gain from selling your home and moving to a smaller residence.

Anyone thinking about downsizing a house to save money should consider more than just how much the current home will sell for and the price of the home-to-be, such as:

  • Commissions and other fees associated with the real estate transactions
  • Repairs or renovations that may be necessary to prepare the home for sale
  • Moving expenses (which could include professional services such as staging the home and assistance with downsizing/packing belongings)
  • The difference between the two homes in terms of property taxes, homeowners insurance, utility bills and HOA fees, if applicable
  • Whether new furniture, appliances or furnishings will be required

Other Benefits of Downsizing for Seniors

When it comes to downsizing, seniors may have reasons and advantages unique to their circumstances. These are a few examples:

  • A smaller home without stairs will be easier to navigate for those with mobility limitations.
  • Moving from a large home in a rural or suburban area to a smaller one “in town” with stores, restaurants, services and medical providers nearby will require less driving. (Note that many retirement communities provide transportation services.)
  • In some cases, older adults want to move closer to family or friends. For these seniors, downsizing may be the only option, depending on what’s available in the area where they want to live.
  • Going through decades’ worth of accumulated belongings during the downsizing process gives older adults more control over what happens to their most valued possessions — and can make things easier for their children or other family members later on.

The Social Benefit of Downsizing to a Smaller Home

After the kids leave home and routines become less busy, older couples and individuals may find they have less contact with the world beyond their homes. In extreme cases, they may become socially isolated, which can lead to loneliness and depression.

Moving to a smaller home can help prevent this situation — whether the move is to a townhouse or an apartment with neighbors nearby, or to a senior living community where there are plenty of social activities and other seniors who share similar interests.

Turning the Perception of Downsizing Upside Down

Even with all of the advantages downsizing offers, it can be challenging to leave a home where everything’s familiar and you’ve created a whole collection of fond memories over the years.

Rather than dwelling on the past and the home you’re leaving behind, remind yourself that you can take your memories with you. Now, you have the opportunity to create a different lifestyle and design your living space around it. You can make them both more in tune with who you are today — or who you want to be in the future.

This is a chance to replace the same old, same old with all kinds of new, including new adventures, new interests and activities, new possibilities and, perhaps best of all, new friendships!

Assistance With Downsizing

Maybe you’d like to downsize but are concerned that you’re just not up to it physically. Don’t let this worry keep you from enjoying a home, and a lifestyle, that fits you better.

There are many professionals and businesses that offer downsizing help for seniors. They may call themselves senior relocation specialists, senior move managers or something else, but if you do an online search using a phrase like “downsizing home for seniors,” you’ll find a variety of local and national options.

Some businesses are highly specialized, like those who digitize photo albums. Others offer assistance with the entire process, from handling home repairs on the house you’re in now to setting up the furniture in your new home.

You can also enlist the help of friends and family. This can be a great way to share special memories (especially with younger family members who may not know the history behind some of those items with sentimental value) and let those who are close to you choose keepsakes.

If you’re not in a big hurry to move (or if you’re not planning to move at all), you can take your time sorting through your belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate, what to toss and what to give to a friend or family member.

By starting the downsizing process now, there will be less to do if and when you decide to move.

Finding Your Place at Heron’s Key

We know all about the benefits and challenges of right sizing or downsizing for older adults. After all, everyone who lives in our community has been through the experience personally.

One of the most common remarks we hear from new residents is they wish they’d made the decision to move sooner because there are so many enjoyable choices.

If you’re already active and have a variety of interests, you’ll be delighted to know that you can continue that lifestyle here at Heron’s Key — and you’ll have more time to devote to whatever you love to do.

If you’re looking to increase your contentment quotient by trying new activities and forming new friendships, it’s a breeze to do that here as well.

Want to know more about Heron’s Key and how we make it easier to live life on your terms? Let’s connect! You can fill out our short contact form, join us for an event or call (877) 892-7129.

Featured Image: NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock