Find the Best Place to Live as a Senior When Moving to a Smaller Home

How to Transition to a Smaller Place when Downsizing

Older couple riding bikes past a field of sunflowers

If you're an older adult and realize that it's time to move and start downsizing and begin the search for a smaller place to live - one that's easier to maintain. But moving from a larger space with a garden and a quiet neighborhood to a place that might be closer to the conveniences needed and much smaller than you're used to, you may feel that you're giving up a lot of the things you love.  So find out what the benefits are of living in a smaller home so you can make this transition a lot easier. 

Find the right place

To start, make a list of the things that you like about living in a house including how you use the space whether it's sitting in the garden reading or working at your desk in your own office - try to think of the essentials of what you need.  This list will guide your search and ensure that the features you like are still available in your new home. Then make a list of what your current home lacks.  Maybe it's easy access to stores and shops.  Maybe it's the carpeted stairs that are difficult to clean.  Or maybe its' the driveway you hate shoveling in the winter. This "don't want" list will also help guide your search.

Look for amenities that you'll use

The great thing about living in a built community such as an apartment complex or condo association, is that there are usually some great amenities that you wouldn't otherwise have access to.  Swimming pools, spas, gyms and entertainment spaces are just a few of the potential perks.  So from the list of "must have's", see how the amenities might fulfill some of your needs.

Check for outdoor space

One of the big differences between living in a house and an apartment or condo is access to an outdoor space.  If you're used to a backyard and this is important for you to maintain, then make sure you find a place that will give you a similar space.  The type of space might change - you may need to forgo a large green lawn for a concrete patio, for instance - but can you make the new space into an area you can still enjoy.  Make sure you check the communal areas, too.

Make sure it has the conveniences you need/want

Think about your ideal community in terms of what you want and need.  If you're looking for a neighborhood that's flat and easy to walk to grocery stores, banks and cafes, make sure you walk the neighborhood before you settle on a new home.  If you want easy access to a park and walking trails, add this to the list, too. Try to think about the next phase of your life and how your needs may change so that the neighborhood can continue to support you in future.

Focus on the positive

I don't think you should ignore the negative emotions that this kind of move will cause -I think it's good to go through a type of grieving process - grieving for a previous lifestyle that you enjoyed.  However, I do think if you can try to see the positive that will help.  Go back to that "don't like" list and see how this move may take care of some of those things.  You'll definitely have more freedom in terms of time - smaller spaces mean less work, less clutter and stuff, and day to day maintenance.  You may end up walking more and being in your car less. Whatever the benefits, hold onto that list as you start to think about this move.

And talk to friends and family. They can help and support you through this life change.