All of your kids are out of the house and now your home feels like a big empty space. The idea of keeping up on all the work in the yard gets more daunting with every passing year and vacuuming the stairs has become a real CHORE! The thought of leaving the home your kids grew up in likely feels overwhelming and emotional, but now may be the time for you to downsize into a space that better suits your current needs. You will have an exciting new space that is easier for you to maintain, and you will save money on hydro and property tax. No matter if you’re making the change as a couple or on your own, there are a variety of downsizing options for you, maybe some you haven’t even thought of before!
A Smaller House
Maybe you cannot imagine not having a stand-alone house with a yard, but your current house is just too big. You may want to investigate buying or renting a smaller home that better suits your current and future needs. A one-story home with a small yard would allow you to still have an extra bedroom for family visits, a small garden and no extra stairs to deal with.
Townhouse or Apartment
Buying or renting an apartment or townhouse is ideal if you no longer want to deal with any yard work and are ready for a cozier space. Moving into an apartment or townhouse may be a consideration if you are still fine doing all your own cooking and housework, but don’t want to deal with any more yard work or manage any maintenance issues that come up. Townhouses will give you a bit more space and a private outside entrance, but most typically have stairs so consider your mobility needs currently as well as for the future.
Retirement Community/Independent Living
Contrary to widely held belief, retirement communities (often referred to as independent living communities and occasionally as senior communities) are not for the “old and frail” demographic. These communities are full of life! You have a private suite to live in while also reaping the benefits of weekly housekeeping, most to all your meals prepared for you and activities and community events for you to enjoy. This type of living situation is ideal for someone who is still able to take care of themselves and enjoys their own private space but is also looking for someone else to take care of those tedious chores that you oversaw for years. Being a part of these communities is also a fantastic way to meet people your age and have access to fun entertainment, activities and outings. One monthly cost includes everything, and most of these independent living communities also have laundry services, libraries, hair salons, recreational services and visiting health professionals.
Assisted Living or Long-Term Care
If failing health is an issue and you or your partner needs extra care, it may be time to investigate assisted care homes or long-term care communities to get the proper care you need. In most cases assisted living communities provide you with a small private room to decorate as you choose, as well as all meals are prepared for you and housekeeping is typically done daily. Plus, there is a 24-hour care team of nurses and registered care aides who will look in on you as often as needed and are available with the push of a button. You no longer need to worry about remembering to take your medication and the rooms are often equipped with special beds and other equipment to make you feel more comfortable and safer in your living space.
Moving in with Family or Friends
You likely have a few friends or know other couples your age who are in the same boat as you are so consider teaming up and buying or renting a home to live in together roommate style. You can share in the responsibilities of doing or paying for the housework. The Golden Girls made it work—and had a lot of fun together!
With the rising housing costs in BC, you may also consider moving in with your kids to help them out with the mortgage. Many homes have basement or garden suites as mortgage helpers. You can have your personal space for relaxing and be close enough to spend quality time with your grandchildren.