As published in the Savannah Morning News - 20 January 2013
When is the Right Time to Move?
Frequently, I consult with folks that are thinking about moving, but can’t quite take the plunge. “I’m not ready” is a common comment heard by the retirement communities, and yet the same seniors are calling me to discuss the transition. Surprisingly, the seniors that finally bite the bullet and make the move are grateful they finally did it.
My heart breaks when I watch seniors become lonely and reclusive, watching their friends move away to be with family or simply into a smaller maintenance-free home or retirement community. My grandmother refused to move from her condominium in her later years of life, but was deeply depressed that all her close friends had moved to be with family or passed away. Not until the housekeeper called with concerns about burn holes in the sheets (from smoking in bed) did we have to make the choice for her. She was in her 90’s, and it was time.
Deciding when to pack up the lawn mower and simplify your life takes some soul searching and weighing in on the responsibilities of keeping up a home and yard. Sometimes prodding by the family or a spouse helps move the decision along. I will tell you this:
“I wish I had done it sooner!” is what I hear most frequently after I assist a client with selling their oversized house and moving them to a retirement community.
Their life changes instantly! They experience freedom from all the time spent taking care of stuff. It’s a whole new lifestyle, with new friends, activities and no more cooking! The lonely days are over, and even on moving day, I watch the residents rally around my client and immediately pull them into the fold.
When I moved my own mom last month, I could not get her through the lobby without half a dozen residents coming up to introduce themselves and make her feel welcome. I have shared a couple of dinners with her in the dining room, and the same thing happens…lots of friendly people invite her to join their tables.
Some of my clients have expressed fear of the unknown, of not knowing anyone, and maybe not fitting in. If you want to make new friends, the opportunity is there. Taking the leap to change your life for the better is all it takes.
After my grandmother moved, she stopped talking about being lonely. And now, with my mom, I have noticed the gleam return to her eyes. She dresses every day, puts on her makeup, and heads out the door to participate in the activities offered at the community. This move has perked her up, given her energy and she looks forward to all the fun things she now has time to do.
Don’t wait for a catastrophic event to facilitate the need to move by necessity.
That is a mistake often made. Your choices are minimized, and you may not be able to participate in the decisions being made for you. Do it while you can enjoy a new chapter in your life, experience all the good things that are there for the taking, and the new friends that will welcome you there. Who knows, you may even find a bit of romance! (We’ll talk about Cupid’s arrow in February!)
So, what are you waiting for? The real estate market is getting better, and homes that are priced right are selling. Make 2013 the year you take the plunge and get on with living your life to the fullest!