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Right Sizing Instead of Downsizing for Seniors

When it comes to senior housing, most people believe that the best option for a senior is to downsize. The children have moved out, the couple is aging, and a smaller home that is more manageable seems fitting. But what if the children want to move back in, or the senior wants to have guests, or a health care provider needs to live with the individual? A potentially even better option than downsizing is right-sizing. Unlike downsizing where the senior has to completely change homes, right-sizing is about using the space available. Here are three steps to right-size a senior’s current home.

  1. Assess the space available. Go through the house and identify how often each of the rooms are used and for what purpose. Are some of the rooms only used to walk through to go to a different room? Are there any inconveniences in how the home is laid out? Do they frequently have visitors staying through the night? Once these questions are answer, figure out what type of rooms need to be kept to meet the seniors needs. For example, if an office space is needed and the living room is never used, maybe the living room can become the new office.
  2. Consider the options. Take note of other homes, whether it be friends or family, and see how their floor plans are laid out. Look through magazines, watch TV shows, and educate yourself on new possibilities. Is there anything that these people have that you could imitate?
  3. Determine the future needs. The home needs to accommodate the senior’s current and future needs. Think through what finances are available and what those will look like in the future. Be prepared for health changes. After retirement, if the senior wants to be able to babysit grandchildren at their home, think about changing the living room into a kid’s room. Or, if they may be tight on finances, change the dining room into a space for a new roommate.

The home needs to be functional. Realistically, a senior’s current home may not be the best home for them. If they have to climb dozens of stairs and are beginning to suffer from arthritis, downsize. But, if they want to be able to keep their current home, right-size. Right-sizing is not about the quantity of space available, it is about the quality of the space, using it for the right purposes.

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