One of the hardest experiences many of us face as we grow older is the death of a spouse. This immense loss brings with it both emotional upheaval and the need to consider some practical decisions for moving forward with life. While it may seem daunting to make changes while coping with this loss, a change in lifestyle is often needed and can even aid in the grieving process. One change that can help during this time is moving to a smaller home or a senior living community. Here are a few things to think about as you decide whether a move may be best for you.
Reducing Feelings of Isolation
A common experience while grieving is a sense of isolation. One step that can lessen feelings of isolation and help you start moving forward with life is connecting with friends and family, especially other widows or widowers. For many people, transportation becomes a barrier to staying connected with friends as we age, but a move to a senior living community can really help make this easier. These communities are usually walkable, and many provide transportation that can help you get out and see friends. A lot of senior living communities also have activities that allow you to meet new people, many of whom may also be dealing with the loss of their spouse.
Easing the Financial Strain of Homeownership
Owning a home has many benefits, but it can also cause stress and be a financial burden. Downsizing to a smaller home can have an immediate impact on your finances by reducing monthly expenses like utilities and property taxes. There is also the ongoing concern of major home repair work, which can be extremely costly and put a significant strain on your budget. By downsizing to a smaller home, repair costs are much lower or potentially nonexistent depending on what type of community you choose.
Aging in Place
An increasingly popular trend in senior living is the idea of aging in place. This concept is all about staying in your primary home as you age, rather than moving to a traditional nursing home. For many people, staying in their family home may not be possible as they grow older. Most homes aren’t easily accessible if physical limitations become an issue, and the cost to make them accessible can sometimes be steep. Furthermore, the maintenance required to keep up with a large home and yard can be challenging. Senior living centers allow you the option to have a primary home that is accessible and manageable as you age, giving you a fresh start in a place of your own without losing your independence. These communities are also catering to baby boomers’ desire to have the same wide range of amenities and freedom that they are used to, which means you get the benefit of aging in place in a location that truly feels like home
Carrying Memories On
One reason some people may be hesitant to downsize is a reluctance to leave the home where they lived with their spouse. Your family home is full of memories, and it may feel like you would be leaving those behind. Downsizing means clearing some clutter, but this can be an opportunity to make the most of fond memories. Let’s face it, when pictures and memorabilia are hidden away in a shoebox, we don’t get to enjoy them. This is the perfect time to pull those out and find creative ways of keeping your most cherished items more visible.
Deciding to downsize to a smaller home or senior living community after losing your spouse can seem scary. But as you consider the benefits, you may find that a move will ease emotional pain and stress as you look to the future.
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