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When it comes to senior living arrangements, many people are under the impression that aging in place means staying exactly where you are. In reality, that's not quite the truth. Often, aging independently means making a transition to a more stable living arrangement. Here, we'll explore some of the circumstances and reasons that might prompt seniors to move or downsize to age in place—as well as how to tell when the time is right for you.

Moving and Downsizing

Being able to live comfortably and independently isn't only contingent on individual factors. For older adults, environment and circumstances also play a huge role in their ability to age in place. Below are some of the most common issues that many seniors encounter when weighing their options:

  • Home ownership is expensive, particularly for those who live in larger or older homes, and many seniors tend to see a reduction in income after retiring or transitioning to fixed income. On top of that, health conditions or medical bills can make it more difficult for some older adults to continue making ends meet. Moving and downsizing to a smaller house or apartment can help save a lot of money in upkeep, utilities, and property taxes.
  • Stairs, hard-to-reach storage spaces, and difficult-to-access toilets and showers can all pose potential hazards for seniors who experience mobility issues. While some homes only need minor modifications to make them safe or accessible for seniors, others present more serious obstacles to activities of daily living. In some cases, moving to a ground-floor apartment or an independent living community with built-in accessibility features is the safer (and smarter) option.
  • Availability of Assistance. Many seniors are able to function on a largely independent basis, but require occasional help with more strenuous tasks or chores, or need someone close by in the event of an emergency. For individuals in these situations, it may be necessary to relocate to be nearer to a friend or family member, or to move into a senior living community with on-demand assistance.

When Is the Right Time To Downsize?

Everyone's situation and needs are different, and as such, there's no one-size-fits all rule for when you should consider downsizing or moving. However, the following questions may help give you an idea of whether your current home and/or location are sustainable:

  • Are you able to easily perform activities of daily living?
  • Does your home pose any potential fall hazards?
  • Are you able to access all of the amenities and resources you need (eg, groceries, medical care/prescriptions)?
  • Do you have reliable access to transportation?
  • If you were to require assistance or have an emergency, would help be readily available?
  • Do you feel lonely or socially isolated?
  • Is your current living situation financially sustainable for the foreseeable future?

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!