Rightsizing is worth the effort. Rightsizing means recalibrating your living circumstance. Sometimes that is driven by the need to financially restructure your life and reduce the cost of living overall. Sometimes it is driven by advancing age or health concerns. But basically, unless we are in denial, we can feel “IT” approaching.
The first indicator might be a nagging conscience that unflinchingly prods us into the admission that we aren’t utilizing all the space we are living in and in fact, it is downright wasteful. Someone else might do a better job of caretaking and perhaps (painful as it is to admit) appreciate it more. We might be living in a space we worry about more than we enjoy.
The second indicator to raise its ugly head might be the kids. No one wants their children to tell them what to do, but doggone it, they may have a valid point. We need to give them credit for the ability to readily observe what we are trying so hard to ignore – we have too much stuff, the house is too big, and it has all become a burden.
What now? Where do we begin? Most of us are surrounded with friends and family that we have counseled with for years. Now is the time to open up to the ones whose advice we have learned to treasure the most. Be humble and receptive. Most people have no agenda and no motivation to mislead us. Remember that dramatic changes have always been a part of life and come with many unforeseen rewards. It is hard to give up what we hold most dear, but the maturity that comes with aging brings the added blessing of discernment for most of us, as long as we stay focused on the finish line.
Most people who are rightsizing need to relocate, unless they are fortunate enough to be able to share their current home with a caregiver/caretaker or someone else that serves the purpose of offsetting the overall expense of household upkeep. The Roanoke community is chocked full of alternatives. Those looking to continue a pattern of independent living have patio homes galore, trading basements and attics for single story floor plans. Real estate prices are currently down, so enjoy the buyer’s market for what might be a comfortable alternative for the next 10 years or more.
Retirement communities offer peace of mind and “rightsized” living for those who no longer want to be responsible for property upkeep. Meals and healthcare oversight are provided, in some situations for “life,” and that has tremendous appeal for those of us who can afford it. For those looking for less expensive options, senior apartments (some are even subsidized) offer a sense of family, with activities and social services available. For available options of senior housing in Virginia, log onto SeniorNavigator.org. You can put in your desired zip code and “senior housing” in the search boxes for listings.
Regardless of the choice we make, we will probably be faced with giving up some things we no longer care about and some things we care very much about. (Remember, we are setting an example for our children and grandchildren, who are watching, so let’s deal with our choices in an informed and unemotional way). Step number one is to recreate the ambiance we have enjoyed in our major living areas according to the newly allocated space. That means focusing on the new floor plan and determining what will fit nicely. (We don’t want wall to wall furniture). Pick out the pieces that mean the most. (At this point in our life, we deserve to prioritize ourselves – the kids or friends will get it all later!) Take the time to make accurate measurements of the pieces you want to bring.
Width means left to right, depth means front to back, and height means top to bottom of any piece you want to move. You need to consider the complete dimensions of each piece. Allow 36 inches of passage between most pieces of furniture and along all heavily traveled pathways. This will accommodate walkers and scooters for yourself or visiting friends. Consider windowsill heights for the placement of sofas and dressers etc., the height of electrical switch plates, air intake and heater vents and the way the doors swing. Sometimes closets can be utilized to accept file cabinets and chests of drawers. Floor planning is perhaps one of the most time-consuming aspects, but it is definitely the one that deserves the most attention. Retirement communities have floor plans that they will share and enlarge for you. Plug in the real life dimensions of anything you propose to bring. Call in your chips and get the children (or friends) to help as needed and don’t feel bad for asking for assistance. Your “rightsizing” need will enlarge the hearts of all that help you, so you end up being a blessing to them!