3 Easy Steps: Moving into a Senior Community

Moving Into a Senior Community

Once the kids leave home and you begin preparing for retirement, you may find yourself with too much space.

There is no reason that you wouldn’t want to adapt to your new, mature, reality. Reducing expenses, eliminating yard work, and improving your mobility in your home are just a few of the positives to moving into a senior community. These features are compounded to anyone facing health concerns. This can be a stress-free transition if you follow these 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Find a Place That’s Just Right for You

Finding the right senior living community is a very important decision. Ideally, you will be living out the rest of your retirement here. So picking the right spot is crucial! Retirement communities provide themselves as lively and active places for seniors to pursue relatively carefree lifestyles. These communities are able to offer an independent way of life while keeping nursing care and assistance close by if they are required.

When searching for the right community there are several points you should consider. First, the cost. You will want to make sure you understand your out of pocket expenses. Many communities offer plans that cover meals, health care, and other amenities. There are usually membership fees that vary depending on the size of your living space. You don’t want to jump at the lowest bidder, but make sure that the cost of living is affordable for you.

Plan a tour during a scheduled community event. You should ask the manager if you can watch the activities or even participate. See if the events scheduled on the calendar match your interests, if they are well attended, if the staff is enjoying them, and if there is diversity in the types of activities. Make sure this place really feels like it could be “home” to you.

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Step 2: Turn Your Clutter into Cash

After you find the perfect senior living community you will know exactly how much space that you have to work with. So it’s time to begin downsizing. The first step is to take inventory of all your belongings. You will want to begin designating your household goods into 3 different categories: “must-have for new home”, “would like to keep”, and “not really needed”.

The mainstays of your “must-have” pile will be your furniture and dishes. You will need your bed, couch, and plates in your new home. Get a floor plan and map out where you will position your furniture. Anything that doesn’t fit, or makes things too crowded, should be put into the “not really needed” category. Anything you want to keep, but won’t fit into your new, smaller home, can be kept in storage. If you don’t need to access these items regularly, it’s recommended that you use a vaulted storage option. This is the safest, most affordable, way to store your goods long term.

Once you have narrowed things down to just your “not really needed” pile, you can start planning for a moving sale. This is a great way to get rid of clutter and make some extra money. Here is a great guide to hosting a moving sale. Any of your items that don’t sell during the moving sale can be donated to your favorite local charity.

Your home should feel so much emptier now! It’s time to stage it for sale. Give it a rigorous cleaning, rearrange your furniture, and make any minor repairs that you have been putting off. Make your old home shine. A realtor will be able to help you with this. It is important that you find a quality real estate agent that will work in your best interests.  Ask friends and family if they have anyone that they recommend and always check your realtor’s consumer reviews.

(Read: The Future of Senior Physical and Mental Health)

moving into a senior community

Step 3: Move into Your New Life

You’ve picked out your new home, cleaned out your old one, and are finally ready to make the leap. All you have to do now is find a good moving company. Moving companies will help you pack, relocate, and arrange all of your household goods. Most companies offer free moving estimates for any services that you require.

When choosing a moving company there are a few staples to look for. Make sure that they own their own trucks and equipment, employ full-time movers instead of temporary labor, and that they have good online reviews. There are plenty of horror stories about fly-by-night moving companies holding possessions hostage for more money, damaging goods, or having items disappear. Do your homework before choosing a mover.

Most quality movers offer senior and military discounts and maintain relationships with local senior living communities. You should ask your new community manager if they have any recommendations.

As soon as you’re settled in, you will want to get to know your neighbors. You should break out the event calendar and circle a few upcoming activities to attend. This will allow you to introduce yourself and make some new acquaintances. Don’t be afraid to come bearing gifts. A plate of cookies is a sure-fire way to break the ice!

Big changes are never easy. But if you follow these 3 simple steps you will be able to live a much simpler, more affordable, and convenient life after downsizing. Smooth sailing is on the horizon.

Have you downsized to a Senior Community before? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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