Many seniors eagerly look forward to moving to a community filled with others of similar age and life experience. For them, it’s not a "giving up" of anything worth keeping, but a move that embraces comfort, lifestyle opportunity and freedom from the ongoing responsibility of home maintenance and upkeep.
Having conversations with loved ones prior to actual need is the best way to deal with lifestyle changes. Selling one’s home in preparation for a move can be an adventure, a trip down memory lane and a financial advantage all at the same time. It can also be a good amount of work. It’s largely a matter of advance planning and attitude. Timing, too, is vital. Logistically, there is a huge difference in needing to sell an existing home in order to make a move, and easing the transition by holding on to property until a physical move is complete. Often, that is a financial decision, but professional advice from a real estate agent familiar with your community is invaluable. It may be a traditional sale, or the property might have a reverse mortgage – getting help from professionals can help any seller make sense of their personal situation.
Here are some steps to make it all easier:
Start Planning Early
This is the time to talk to others — not only friends and family, but a trusted counselor or clergyman, your physician, a tax advisor or accountant, an attorney, and a real estate agent. It is also a time to take a close look at your existing needs and to be realistic about future changes. Ideally, select a living arrangement that offers increasing levels of care options should they become necessary.
The primary goal of advance planning is to make the transition easier and enjoyable. With this in mind, ask questions about everyday living styles, special events and opportunities, finances, levels of care, and physical accommodations in your new community.
Set a Date
Procrastination is a human trait. But, in this case, putting off required tasks until the last moment can lead to unnecessary stress. It is natural in any big move to experience conflicting emotions. Undergoing preparations for the sale and move incrementally with a set date in mind can help anyone deal with the emotional aspects of selling a home. When you have a firm moving date, you’ll be happy for the advance preparation, and you’ll be back in control. Go out for tea with a friend. Take in a movie or schedule a weekend trip to get away from the packing. Sorting and organizing the belongings you have accumulated over a lifetime shouldn’t be something that is done last minute. Embrace any help that is offered, and rely on the assistance of friends and family.
Hold on to the Familiar
Plan to keep treasured pieces of your life close at hand. What you keep will depend on the size and physical layout of your new home, but having a comfortable chair, a treasured chest and personal accessories, familiar art on the walls, and favorite books and photographs close at hand is important.
Modern technology offers the ability to maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, and it also helps us hold on to the various media we accumulate throughout the years; get help to organize your memories including photographs, music and memorabilia of your lifelong experience into digital storage that you can easily access.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but it still holds true: Moving is a lot like starting a new chapter of a book. Some things will be different, while reminders of previous chapters will always be present – and getting ready for these transitions can help us all write the beginning of our next chapter in the way we want.