The first reason is that studies have shown that seniors who stay actively engaged both socially and intellectually live longer, healthier and more satisfying lives. It has been proven time and time again and when you talk to people who are active and healthy at the ages of 83, 93 and even 103, they will tell you it is because they have stayed active AND they have stayed engaged.
“Is downsizing required for me to stay active and engaged,” you might ask? No necessarily, however, if you are no longer comfortable or if it isn’t safe to drive any longer, it makes it more challenging to be active. And then there is the time involved in maintaining a large home that sometimes prevents senior adults from being as active as they might otherwise be. We will address this in reason #2 for choosing to downsize.
Being active and engaged doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a social butterfly. Not everyone loves being “a joiner.” There is undoubtedly no shortage of social activities for the social butterfly in many active adult communities, but there are also other ways to stay active and engaged. In virtually every 55+ community we have visited they either have these things on site or they provide transportation to a nearby location that offers them: gyms, theaters, art classes, musical shows, plays, libraries, college courses, museum displays, and more.
Regardless of your age, personality, physical capabilities, or personal preferences, there is something for everyone! If you stay cooped up in your house and watch CNN (continuously negative news) all day, you are sure to shrivel up and die or at the very least become frail and grumpy. It’s a personal choice.
As mentioned earlier, reason number two for moving to a more manageable residence is about the home maintenance issue. Whether you have lived in a home for a long time or have only been there a short time, if it requires ongoing maintenance, unmanageable expenses or if it doesn’t fit lifestyle any longer, it essentially becomes a burden. With burden comes stress. With stress comes poor health, exhaustion, overwhelm, and physical decline. This is true at any age, but especially true as we get older.
By living somewhere that home maintenance is not an issue, it frees up time and energy for people to focus on the things that they enjoy. If you are dealing with having to have the house painted, an overflowing toilet, frozen pipes, a leaky roof, or yard maintenance, you are essentially using energy that you could be using in other places that are more enjoyable. Now if you enjoy fixing roofs, having plumbing repaired, and remodeling things because because you love doing that stuff, then certainly that is different. Some people do enjoy these things, believe it or not. But for the large percentage of the people out there, that is not considered fun. It is more than a little overwhelming for most and a great reason to downsize into a more manageable and maintenance free residence.
There are many local communities that offer a maintenance free lifestyle. Some of these neighborhoods are age specific and cater to the 55 and older homeowner.
Another option for the over 55+ active adult is the senior living community. Here you get things like meals, transportation, housekeeping, planned on-site and off-site social activities, and a variety of other convenient services. Again, the focus is on staying active and engaged…at your discretion. You can still choose what to do and when, but when you do choose to get involved, it is convenient and you aren’t bogged down by waiting on the roofer, the plumber, the cable guy or the electrician!
Most people find they have increased energy, decreased illness, fewer doctor visits, and an overall more positive outlook on life shortly after they make the decision to downsize.
The most common phrase we hear from people who choose to move into senior living communities or even a smaller more manageable place is this:
“I wish I would have done this years ago. Had I known then what I know now, I would have done it in a heartbeat.”