How To Decide Whether To Downsize Or Age In Place

Eric Stewart August 25, 2015

In a previous blog I discussed rightsizing and a process for evaluating your overall well-being to determine your preferable future. Once you have decided what you want your future to be, the question becomes do you age in place or find a new home to help you achieve those goals? Consider these five factors to help you decide.

You need to have PEACE to stay put:

Proximity: How close is your home to stores, doctors, family, and friends, and what transportation options do you have available? Living close to your support network makes it easier to get what you need and want. A community where these features are close is a great benefit.

Expense: The costs involved in staying or leaving. Property taxes and the cost of heating, cooling, and maintaining a single family home can be weighed against the costs of moving to a new home. 

Accessibility: How can you get in and out of your home, and move around inside? Will climbing the stairs be a problem? If you need a wheelchair, can it get through all the hallways and doorways? 

Comfort: The extent to which a place gives you a sense of security, peace of mind, and identity.

Ease: How easy is it for you to accomplish daily activities in your home?

If none of the above factors is an issue, you’re probably fine to stay where you are and if needed, hire a caregiver who can help you restore and fulfill your seven areas of well-being. Otherwise, it’s time to consider moving.

Downsizing Options

Assuming you decide to make a move, there are several options including:

Buying a Condo

If you feel you are too young for a retirement community, but don’t want the hassle of maintaining your home, selling and buying a condo in a more vibrant part of town can be a great way to lower costs, enjoy more of life, and be closer to the action of an urban setting. 

Renting at a Community

Some retirement, or senior living communities, such as the Chevy Chase House, Five Star Premier Residences, and the Ring House, all in the metro area, offer options to simply rent an apartment at the retirement community, which gives you a lot of flexibility and no large up front deposit. Many of these communities have on-site medical services; meal plans; and amenities such as a fitness center, library with computers, and cultural, recreational, and wellness programs. 

Assisted Living

This option is for those who need more consistent care and attention for on-going medical needs. This is a great alternative to costly in-home care, and provides a high-degree of social interaction with other residents.

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), also known as life-care communities, offer a number of aging care options that may be needed gradually over time, including independent living, assisted living, nursing home care, and rehabilitation services within a campus style setting. There are three levels of CCRCs. All require an entrance fee and monthly fee in exchange for a residence. The cost depends on whether assisted living and skilled nursing is included in the fees versus being paid at a discount or at a per diem rate when needed. For a list of CCRCs in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland, download our FREE CCRC Guide. 

Many people make the mistake of waiting until change is forced on them. Don’t fall into this trap. Take action and decide to change your life on your terms.

For more guidance on the rightsizing process, contact the senior real estate specialists at the Eric Stewart Group. We have over 27 years of experience helping seniors 55+ downsize from a larger home to a smaller residence across the metro area. For additional insight on downsizing strategies, download our FREE Rightsizing Guide.

*PEACE based on material from: “Living & Thriving in Montgomery County” – A publication of Montgomery County Government, 2012




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