Life is a journey and one of the first steps in any journey is to leave – to let go.” – Gerhard Frost

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If you are against the idea of leaving your long time home, or still “sitting on a fence” about whether to stay or move, let me give you my perspective on this. Although I read and hear over and over again about the value of “aging in place”(remaining in your family home as you age), I just don’t buy it. Just as we change throughout our lives, our lifestyle and housing needs also change.

If you’re like most people, you’ve lived in several different places over the course of your life. All of these living situations fit you and your lifestyle at the time. Just think what your life would be like today if you had never moved from the first home where you lived after you were born. Think of all the people you would never have met and the life experiences you would have missed!

I believe the same is true with moving on later in life. Your current housing situation should be a good fit for where you are now in your life. Typically this move will take you to a setting with less responsibility, more available support and assistance, and hopefully more opportunities for interaction with others.

Your current lifestyle should also allow you the time and freedom to do more of what you enjoy, and to have new experiences.

Since I’m sure you are aware of the pros and cons of staying in your current home and aging in place, let’s look at the pros and cons of moving on:

“Moving On” Later in Life

  • If you are proactive in deciding to move, you can choose a housing option that better meets your current needs, and make plans for your future needs as well.
  • You can remove yourself from the responsibility of house and yard maintenance.
  • You get to decide when and where you move as well as determine what happens to your belongings as you “lighten the load.”
  • You have a chance to make new friends who share your current interests; you may also feel revitalized living in a new setting with new opportunities to meet people and do new things.
  • You will need to leave your current home, but you can always take the good memories with you.
  • You save your family the responsibility and burden of making decisions about your living situation and your belongings later.

Keeping some sense of control in your life will contribute to your overall functioning and well being as you age. That’s why I am so convinced of the value in older adults “taking the bull by the horns”and letting go and moving on in their later years.

If you make this decision, you have the opportunity to really have time for yourself ú maybe for the first time ever. You can enhance your own successful aging by spending time on physical exercise you enjoy, taking full advantage of new experiences and opportunities to learn and grow, engaging in life and enjoying family and old and new friends.

I think this is great! What do you think? Are you open to considering the positive aspects of a later life move?

Sue Ronnenkamp is a nationally recognized expert in the area of later life, transitional moves. She is the founder and owner of Living Transitions , an Austin, Texas-based business that provides “hands on” help to older adults making downsizing moves. Sue also provides educational programs and resources including her book, Living Transitions: A Step-by-Step Guide for Making a Later Life Move, a long list of articles, popular presentations that shed a positive light and perspective on this topic.

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