How to Enjoy Downsizing
Aging Matters

Do you plan to retire in the near future and thinking about downsizing from the suburban two-story? The question comes up for empty nesters, retirees; people headed to retirement.

It's a tough thought process. And initially people start with the home; to replace a two-story with a one, or a three bedroom with one or two, and reduce 2,700 square feet to 1,200 or 1,400. That's a lot of stuff to filter. If you start here, overwhelm may stop the idea altogether way before the fun part.

How about instead, begin with a vision focused on how the new life would look? What lifestyle changes beckon you? How will they benefit? This is where enjoyment dwells. I've learned a strategy, with the help of my Facebook group, how to approach moving to a new place and downsizing in the midst of it. It's not easy but here's what to embrace to spice up the journey.

Will you feel comfortable moving to a place where you know few people or no one at all? Do you have an outgoing or an inner-directed personality? If outgoing, the concerns of meeting new people is not an issue, but more significant if an introvert. Since the job was your common thread of social contact, how will you replace the connections? Would it make sense to move into 55+ planned community? Would an urban setting fit the bill?

If you like living in a "village" where everything including groceries and fresh produce is within easy walking, an urban area makes sense. However, places do exist where one can live more secluded, and maintain a rural feel of being quiet and safe, yet have access to the amenities of a large city for concerts and such.

Does a specific area of the country better meet your needs over another? Do you enjoy playing in snow? Or, do you want to avoid driving in it to run errands, and paying high heating bills, and dressing in layers all winter?

But again, if hot and humid makes you cringe, then some snow is tolerable, especially if Hawaii or southern California is too costly. That's the perfect weather, 70-80 degrees year around exists. I've lived in snow and now in hot and humid. Both are tough.

So, what can you afford and how much are you willing to pay for a "lifestyle?" Start with research and figure out the perfect lifestyle -- then layout the budget to see what you can afford or willing to pay. A few mentioned on Facebook:

South of Baltimore, where there's a number of retirement communities between Baltimore and D.C. with cultural opportunities (Glen Burnie for example)Small mountain towns outside Pittsburgh, (Washington and Uniontown)

Takeaway -- look at lifestyle first, then tackle the space (home.)

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Carol Marak, aging advocate, She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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