Many Seniors probably already down-sized when they retired or moved closer to their children. But as one (particularly the active spouse) becomes more frail or less healthy, the need for down sizing becomes more essential. Down-sizing usually involves mental stress, physical effort, and even family disputes. Careful planning and execution can avoid extreme stress or making a bad move under an emergency (e.g. a disability from a fall). Down-sizing may involve many considerations such as proximity to children, friends and medical facilities, your physical condition as well as choosing from a number of facilities like Active Adult Retirement Communities (AARC) and Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).
AARCs provide various levels of services for yard and home maintenance, recreation, transportation etc. When one becomes very frail, disabled, or very ill, another move may be necessary.
CCRCs provide the facility for active living as well as Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing. The different levels of care may be located in a single campus or near each other. Generally these involve paying a significant entry fee for a living unit (part of the cost may be refundable to the estate) and a monthly maintenance fee. In some CCRCs the cost may remain constant independent of the level of care needed. Some may charge additional fee for more care. Each facility should be carefully evaluated based on their services and costs. Visits to possible location and facilities, and consultation with family, and friends who have already down sized will help make a good decision.
Down sizing is said more easily than done. Getting rid of years of accumulation and sentimental possessions is not easy. One suggested method is to work on one room at a time. Set up three boxes – one for trash, one for giving to family or friends and one for donation. Sort the objects in the room into the boxes and put the "keeps" on the shelves. When one room is finished, move on to the next. If you are a pack-rat, another method is to invite a younger family member or a ftiend to sort the things for you.