What Retirees Can Expect and How to Cope
From the GIC Fall 2006 Newsletter
Downsizing can offer both financial and lifestyle benefits for retirees. In addition to reducing mortgage expenses, you may be able to cut everyday expenses such as utility costs and property taxes. (Talk to a tax or financial advisor to see whether selling your home, moving to a less expensive dwelling and investing the excess proceeds makes sense for you.) Moving to a retirement setting can help prolong your independence by reducing your home responsibilities, giving you support and assistance when needed, and improving opportunities to interact with others.
Despite its ultimate rewards, downsizing can be a physically exhausting and emotionally draining experience. You may have accumulated many possessions over a number of years and not everything can or should be moved to your new home. Christine Price, Ph.D., Extension State Gerontology Specialist at Ohio State University offers the following tips:
- Begin in the areas of the house you don't use often, such as the guest room, basement, and attic.
- Start with large items and move to smaller ones - make decisions on furniture before knick knacks - you'll feel like you're making progress faster
- Have a sorting system - use stickers and piles to indicate what gets tossed, donated, sold at a garage sale or auction, given to family, or moved
- Write down family history for items being kept or given to family members - this information will be cherished for generations to come.
- Allow plenty of time - start the process early and allot time for looking at old pictures, reading letters, and grieving. Work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Sue Ronnenkamp, the author of Living Transitions, suggests spending one or two hours at a time so as not to get overwhelmed.
Remember - the goal is to improve your quality of life. The end result of undertaking this move will bring many rewards. Many communities have relocation specialists or professional organizers who can help with all stages of the downsizing process. Your realtor may be familiar with the providers in your area. If you or your spouse is having difficulty dealing with a downsizing change, seek help. Commonwealth Indemnity Plan and Navigator/Spirit by Tufts Health Plan members have access to EAP services through Beacon Health Strategies.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.