Early in life, most couples and small families start out in apartments or tiny homes. As the family and incomes grow, people generally move into multi-bedroom homes with a lot of space for everyone to live comfortably. As time and life move on, people age, children move out and lifestyles change. At this point, big houses are less necessary, can be overwhelming and often become more trouble than they are worth. The last thing anyone should need to deal with during retirement is a living situation that is unsustainable or unmanageable. A change is usually needed.
At this crossroads, seniors typically have two options - downsize their home or move into a senior living community. Both options may be best for different people, and there are a few factors to consider when making this choice.
When it comes to housing, bigger is not always better - especially for empty nesters or people who do not have the energy levels to keep up with home maintenance. Home maintenance activities that can prove especially burdensome for seniors include:
- Maintaining a yard and landscaping
- Home maintenance and repair
- Deep cleaning furniture, rugs and hard-to-reach places
Seniors should consider downsizing if they need:
- More available cash. Downsizing typically means a smaller mortgage payment and fewer property taxes, and this puts extra money back in your pocket can be put toward your others needs and wants. You can also expect to pay lower amounts for utility bills.
- More time. Living in a smaller space with fewer rooms means less cleaning and maintenance. The time saved on reduced household tasks can definitely add up – meaning you can dedicate more time to the things you enjoy.
- Lower stress. A smaller workload in the house, having more money and greater flexibility can all ultimately lower stress levels.
Downsizing into a smaller home can mean less stress and more free time and money, but such a move does not make sense for every senior in every situation. Seniors who are beginning to need more and more help with activities like daily chores or those who are getting lonely or bored should consider senior living.
Choosing a senior living option can be an overwhelming and emotional decision, but on the whole, there are many positive benefits associated with this choice. Here’s a breakdown of the different options:
Senior living apartments and retirement communities are most appropriate for seniors who are self-sufficient and who do not need around-the-clock care, but do not want to deal with the burdensome responsibilities that of owning a home, namely yard and home maintenance.
This option provides a community for seniors that offers very little in terms of care, but usually has an emergency alert system in case of medical issues or falls. Seniors will still be responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. There are typically few structured activities, but overall seniors can make new friends and establish new routines without the hassle of home maintenance.
Independent living allows seniors to keep their independence, while providing structured social activities. Certain services, including laundry and meals, are sometimes provided, but most communities do not offer assistance with daily activities or health services.
Independent living facilities are great for seniors who are mostly independent and don’t need help getting dressed or bathing, but can’t or don’t want to be responsible for daily chores such as cooking and laundry.
Assisted living facilities provide an opportunity for social interaction and structured activities for seniors. There are 31 facilities in Austin. Services offered differ between facilities and states, but can include:
- Assistance with daily living activities (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, etc.)
- Medication tracking and secure storage
- Central dining options
- Emergency call systems in private and common areas
- Exercise facilities and certain health and wellness services
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Organized recreational activities
- Laundry services
- Religious activities
- Transportation arrangements
- Wellness programs
- 24-hour security services
Skilled nursing is not available 24/7, but periodic health care and memory care may be provided for an additional cost at some facilities.
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