Downsizing for Seniors: Where Do You Want to Live?

Lucas Smith
Wednesday, March 6th, 2024
By Lucas Smith

To move or not to move? That is the question, and if so, where? Let's discuss a common issue faced by seniors and retirees: the tough decision they must make when their children leave the nest and fly far away, often across the country.

To better understand this issue, let's talk about a client of mine. We'll call her Mary. Mary grew up in the Midwest and loved all the seasons, including snow. She moved to our area to be closer to her children and grandchildren, opting for a smaller home in a 55-plus or senior community for its affordability and proximity to family.

Despite thinking of it as an "old people's home," she settled on the condo due to financial constraints. However, one major trade-off was that her health coverage did not cover her in the new area, necessitating a switch in healthcare providers.

Fast forward a couple of years and a job promotion for her son-in-law led to yet another move for her children and grandchildren, leaving Mary feeling devastated and isolated. She felt trapped in an area with a lack of seasons, far away from everything and everyone she knew and loved. Now faced with limited options, Mary must decide whether to move across the country again to be near family, endure her misery, or sell and move back home.

Family considerations

As parents and grandparents, it's natural for us to want to be close to our family, to witness their joy and growth. Be there for Christmases, I mean, I just got to spend my first Christmas with my grandbaby. However, we need to be realistic about our children's lives. Many times, seniors move to be near their kids only to find the kids moving due to job changes or life circumstances and taking the grandkids with them. So it's essential to weigh that desire to be close to family against potential future changes and the risk of feeling isolated in an unfamiliar place.

Lifelong friends

Another critical factor is our social circle: lifelong friends, and colleagues from work. Our social circle, like our sewing circle or our men's group, plays a significant role in our lives, and moving away from the support system can be challenging emotionally. Consider the importance of maintaining those connections and the impact it may have on your overall well-being.

Church community

For many of us, our church community is an integral part of our lives. And being close to our church group provides a sense of belonging and support. It's a crucial factor in the difficulty of leaving a community you've been part of for years, maybe your whole life, and the challenge of finding a new one where you feel like you fit in and you belong.

Healthcare accessibility

Let's not forget about healthcare providers and healthcare accessibility. You know, the familiarity of doctors, hospitals, and certain care providers is essential. Let's face it, it's a trust relationship, especially as we age, and moving slowly for proximity to family might mean sacrificing accessibility to the healthcare infrastructure that you become accustomed to. So consider the trade-offs and ensure that your new location meets your medical needs.

Downsizing or right-sizing?

Now, let's address the term downsizing, or, as I like to call it, right-sizing. Rather than thinking of it as downsizing. View it as aligning your living situation with your current needs. If your house is too large, as it often is, it might be time to find a home that's just right for your current lifestyle and your current needs. Now, this could mean staying in the same area close to friends and community, with an extra bedroom for when family visits. Remember, in this decision, the climate is mission-critical. There's a good reason that states like Florida with its warm climate are known for retiring, too. And make sure that you'll love the weather wherever you go.

Bottom line

In conclusion, deciding where to live your golden years. It's a complex decision, and it's about finding the right size for your current situation emotionally, socially, and physically. Consider who you love being with. Be it family, friends, or church community. And look, it's important to prioritize your happiness and your well-being. Remember, the key is to make a decision that aligns with your heart and brings you joy.

And, if you're considering making a move, don't hesitate to give me a call at (714) 844-5696, so I can guide and help you on this journey.