Few want to leave a home full of memories and comfort. We don’t want to leave the garden where we worked for so many hours or the room we remodeled. We want to leave a legacy for our children. And it’s too much trouble to organize and get rid of all our junk.
So we wait...until we can no longer mow the lawn or until we trip and fall trying to wash our clothes in the basement laundry.
We wait until it’s too late and we have to sell our homes, because our physical health is endangered.
An Alternative Perspective on Downsizing
But have you ever viewed downsizing in another light?
Upsize Your Life
Downsizing saves money. If you move to a smaller place, you’re probably paying less in property taxes, mortgage or rent, and upkeep. If you move to a community that offers assisted living, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) is part of the deal.
Downsizing saves time. How many hours do you spend mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, weeding the garden, shoveling the snow or making minor repairs? A smaller home requires less work. Most retirement communities include maintenance. Sugar Hill Retirement Community includes maintenance, as well as hair salons, dining, public areas and more.
Downsizing may be safer. Most smaller homes and apartments already meet American Disability Act requirements for lighting and access. Retirement communities are required to meet them. And assisted living communities offer assistance with activities of daily living, such as walking and bathing.
Moving provides psychological benefits. Psychologists developed relocation therapy, because moving offers the ability to avoid negative patterns from the past and the opportunity to transform yourself.
Is Your Legacy Hurting Your Children?
You may think you’re leaving a legacy for your children, but you may well be leaving a mess.
- Your children have to do all the work. Once you have to leave your home or are no longer living, your children will have to go through everything. They’ll have to decide what to keep and what to throw out. Do you really want to add to their burden?
- The house may not be worth as much. Sure, your kids get your house, but they’ve probably already established lives elsewhere and will have to try to sell it. If the market’s doing poorly, they may not get as much as you expect.
- The house may not be livable or sellable. It’s likely the house needs repairs and upkeep you were not able to perform, which poses problems, no matter whether your children are keeping or selling the property.
- Your children must deal with difficult matters because you didn’t. If you need to move to an assisted living or skilled nursing community, how will your children pay for it? Will they be able to fix up the house and sell it? How will they make arrangements? Are you putting your children in debt?
Why Are You Afraid to Downsize?
Seniors don’t like to move for many reasons. “Seniors associate moving out of their home [with] a loss of control,” notes Jan Berry, MSW, director of the Dr. Tarfur Generations program at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix.
Older adults avoid dealing with the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. One reason is we’ve got emotional ties to the pictures, mementos, and even furniture we’ve acquired over the years.
“Possessions are tied to important moments in our personal histories–dates with now-spouses, happy memories with friends, times when we struggled and succeeded. Letting go of the possessions that remind us of those times can feel like losing a memory as well as an item,” remarks Dr. Amy Bucher, who has a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.
We may be paralyzed by the thought of laboriously sorting our stuff and making decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate and give away.
Some of us seniors don’t want to leave their neighborhood and local activities.
Moving to a Retirement Community
Downsizing for seniors frequently means moving to a senior living community. In addition to the other advantages of downsizing, retirement communities provide the following:
Socialization. Social isolation is a risk factor for loneliness, depression, long-term illness, and early death. Sugar Hill Retirement Community is designed to enhance socialization and prevent loneliness with a luxurious dining room and a meal plan that includes 6 delicious dinners a week, numerous public areas, group trips, a coffee shop and more. One resident remarked, “I was tired of eating alone. The opportunity to have dinner with other residents appealed to me.”
Maintenance-free living. Most senior living communities, like Sugar Hill, provide exterior and interior maintenance, so you don’t have to mow the lawn or shovel the snow. If you need help hanging a picture, give maintenance a call.
Convenient services. Many retirement communities include amenities such as mail, laundry, and hair salons. Sugar Hill offers a hair salon, multimedia room, dining room, coffee shop, walking paths, a wellness center, post office boxes and more.
Security. Most communities provide 24-hour security.
No more moving. Even if you initially move into an independent living community then require more care, many retirement communities offer options that range from in-home care to assisted living to a continuum of care. For example, at Sugar Hill Retirement Community, you may move into a house initially. If you need help later in life, you can contract with in-home aides or move within the community to an assisted living apartment. You never have to move away from your neighborhood, church, friends, and activities again.
And one way Sugar Hill is unlike any other community lies in its proximity to the resort town of Wolfeboro and Lake Winnipesaukee. Enjoy the fun all year long at Sugar Hill or in town! Come spend a day with us!