When younger adults move to a new home, it’s often for an exciting reason—marriage, a new job, or a growing family that needs more space, for example.

But what about retirement? You’ve lived in your home for many years, but now your children are on their own. It’s comfortable and full of happy memories, but it might feel like more space than you need. How do you decide when the time is right to make a move?

Assess your situation. Take a few minutes to consider the following questions. Be honest with yourself—your answers will help you decide if it’s the right time for you to move and, if so, where to move to improve your quality of life.

  1. Do you look forward to common chores such as mowing, home repairs, laundry, shopping, and cooking? Does someone do these tasks for you?  
  2. Are you in relatively good physical condition? How is your balance? Does it take you a long time to do things that once took no time at all? Are you falling more often?
  3. Is it difficult to do things you once did easily, such as balancing your checkbook or getting to appointments on time? Do you feel busy every day, yet rarely get anything done?
  4. Do you still feel comfortable driving? Have trusted friends or family members expressed concern about your driving?
  5. Do you use all the space in your house, or do you spend most of your time in three rooms?
  6. What are your expenses each month? Be sure to consider the cost of rent or mortgage, food, utilities, insurances, taxes, transportation, and any services you use, such as paying a housekeeper, your gym membership, or lawn service.

If you are still physically fit and enjoy doing everyday tasks but find you have more space than you really use, you might consider downsizing to a smaller home that doesn’t require as much maintenance and has fewer stairs to climb.

If, on the other hand, you find that you are already entrusting many indoor and outdoor tasks to others, you feel unsafe living in your home, or you just feel ready to give up the responsibilities of home maintenance, you may want to consider a senior living or retirement community.

Don’t be misled by the terms “senior” or “retirement.” Often the minimum age requirement is only fifty-five, which means some residents may not actually be retired at all! Many of these communities provide a variety of housing options catering to adult residents, allowing you to choose from a private home, an apartment, or assisted living studio.

To learn more about retirement communities in your area, start with an internet search, call your local area agency on aging, or ask for a referral from a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare provider. Feel free to ask for information in print, and request a tour of each community you wish to consider.

With the right planning and support, searching for your next home can be a great adventure. And if you start now, you might never have to pick up another snow shovel again. Who can argue with that?

Dirigo Pines Retirement Community, located in Orono, Maine, is a community providing an opportunity to retire in a friendly and caring environment

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