Decision Time: Transitioning to an Easier Lifestyle

How often do you look around your home and think to yourself, “I’m so tired of keeping up this big house”? Cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn, pruning bushes, and general upkeep can take a lot of time and energy – sometimes to the exclusion of more enjoyable activities! There are other lifestyle options available, but how do you know it’s time to consider a change?

How do I know it’s time to consider moving to a senior living community?

Everyone’s response to this question is different. You may love doing yard work and keeping the house up, and not be ready to transition to another lifestyle. On the other hand, if you or your spouse have health issues, such a move may relieve a lot of the stress you deal with on a daily basis. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel overwhelmed by caring for the house and property?
  • Are you able to find time to meet with friends?
  • Do you spend time each week engaged in hobbies, sports, or leisure activities you enjoy?
  • Do you think twice (or three times!) before climbing the stairs in your house?
  • Are your bathrooms safe and easy to navigate? What would happen if you fell?
  • Do your and/or your spouse have health conditions that would be easier to deal with if you did not have to care for the house and yard?
  • Does someone check on you every day (phone, email or online chat count!) to make sure you are okay?
  • Do you want to be closer to your children or grandchildren?

After answering these questions, if you think an easier lifestyle would benefit you, it may be time to check out some of the many (and varied) senior living options.

The benefits of a senior living community

The word “community” is key here: senior living communities have a lot to offer. One of the most critical things humans need – especially as we age – is socialization. These communities offer personal connections to residents by providing a variety of avenues for engagement. 

While each community is different, most have the following things in common:

  • One-story homes or apartments with open floorplans, elevators, and no (or limited) stairs; independent living communities usually have kitchens so you can choose to cook...or not!
  • Bathrooms equipped with safety features to help prevent falls; most also have emergency pull cords so you can get help if you need it
  • Robust dining options
  • Planned activities, both on and off property, ranging from bridge club to movie night, nature walks, museum trips, or evenings at the theater
  • Exercise facilities, pools, and group classes designed especially for seniors; for example, water aerobics, tai chi, strength training, conditioning, and yoga; they may also have physical therapists on staff
  • Local transportation is generally available to doctor’s appointments or for shopping/grocery store outings, or you may choose to use your own car
  • Other amenities may include shuffleboard courts, putting greens, seasonal gardens, mail services, hair salons, banking, massage or physical therapy, and libraries onsite for convenience
  • Daily well-check (usually unobtrusive) 
  • Most now recognize the importance of our pets in our lives, and allow you to bring Fido or Fluffy

The type of community you choose will depend on your health and lifestyle preference as well as the living options in your desired community, including a continuing care option where you can transition without leaving your community. Learn more about types of senior living communities

Ready to take the next step?

If you think you might be ready to make a lifestyle change, make a list of things that are important to you in a community, consider where you want to live and why, and talk to your children about this potential life decision. Look at your finances, and review your estate plan. Are you still working? Look at timing for the move. If you have a family business and have not already done so, talk to an attorney about a business succession plan. Some communities have waiting lists, so you may want to do your research now and put a deposit down on your new place. Planning early allows you to control what happens to you instead of making a hurried decision which may leave you with limited choices. Life is a journey, so make the most of it.

Watch for our next article and video on choosing the right community!

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