Skip To Content

Downsizing Tips for Seniors Who Want to Age in Place

Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Image courtesy of Unsplash



With the future in mind, many seniors elect to downsize.  Having a smaller, more manageable living arrangement can lighten their workload and can often ease financial strain.  If you’re considering downsizing with your golden years in mind, read on for practical advice so the transition goes smoothly.


Weigh various options


While your mind might automatically go toward purchasing a smaller house, there are a couple other key options seniors should consider: independent living and assisted living.  The two terms are sometimes confused for one another, but as Modern Retirement explains, there are key differences between them.


Independent living is community-based, so seniors don’t have to mess with things like home maintenance, but they can take advantage of amenities such as transportation services and fitness facilities.


Assisted living programs also provide help with daily life, such as grooming and eating, on top of the same sorts of amenities.  Both options allow freedom and independence, and you have a built-in social life to help avoid becoming isolated.


A senior-friendly house


Many people opt for a low-maintenance, smaller home for their golden years.  It’s a great choice in the right circumstances.  However, it’s important to note there aren’t many homes on the market which are accessible.  Instead, it’s often necessary to make some renovations, and you should remember that when framing your budget.


To give you an idea of what to consider, two of the rooms seniors often remodel are the kitchen and bathroom.  A kitchen remodel can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $50,000, depending on where you live and the amount of work involved.  A bathroom remodel in Philadelphia typically costs between $5,644 and $11,672.


Timing considerations


On top of the expense, you should consider the timelines of any remodels.  Home renovations can mean workers coming and going, dust, and the inability to use the room in question for quite some time.  A fair timeframe for a kitchen remodel would be 10 to 12 weeks, and you can expect a bathroom renovation to be anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.


Features and ideas


Even if you’re able-bodied right now, it’s important to plan for changing scenarios as age takes a toll.  Architectural Digest explains a home with aging in place in mind should be aimed toward being supportive if mobility issues happen to develop.  Many important features are simple alterations, such as rocker light switches, lever door handles, and awning-style windows.  A no-threshold shower, on the other hand, requires substantial work.  When examining homes you’re considering, use a checklist to help make comparisons.


Make the transition


Once you decide where you’re going to live, you’ll need to do some decluttering with your smaller home in mind.  It’s an ideal time to get to work on packing as well.  You can box things up as you sort belongings, consider what objects you actually use, and part ways with excess.  You can donate belongings to charities or sell them, and box up whatever is left for the move.


Hiring help


When it comes to moving, hiring a pro can make a world of difference in saving you blood, sweat, and tears.  However, be alert, because there are a number of scam artists in the world of moving companies.  Get bids from any potential movers, and make sure they put the agreement in writing.  Read the fine print carefully, and steer clear of anyone who offers you a low-ball estimate, as that is a red flag.  Scoundrels will sometimes hold your things hostage to try to get more money from you later, and that is the last thing you want to see happen.


Aging in place is a great idea, and seniors have several options to consider.  Choose what fits your situation best, plan carefully, and hire good help for the move.  Going into your golden years should be smooth sailing, thanks to your thoughtful preparations.