If you’ve been considering a transition to senior living, you may find that some recent economic news will encourage you to move ahead with your plans. This year, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, signaling a strong economy that can withstand higher borrowing costs.
Overall, the increase is a good sign for the economy — with experts saying conditions have improved significantly since the financial crisis in 2008. However, higher interest rates can cause negative effects for individuals trying to sell homes. With interest rates higher, fewer borrowers can afford mortgages, which means fewer buyers perusing the housing market and, potentially, a smaller pool of buyers for your home.
With interest rates on the upswing, it’s a great time to consider making that transition to a senior living community. If you love the idea of a move, what are some steps you can take to begin the process?
Start Researching Communities
If you think you may want to transition to senior living, it’s never too early to start researching your options. You’ll need to decide on a variety of factors, first and foremost the type of senior housing that will be the best fit for you.
If you intend to move while you’re in good health, a continuing care retirement community gives you access to various levels of living. Most residents move into independent living and then move on to other levels of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care, as their health needs change. Within the realm of CCRCs, you’ll encounter several different options, including multiple contract types and communities with entrance fees or rental plans.
Depending on your financial situation and individual needs, you also may want to consider a senior living community with rental options. Some communities offer independent living and assisted living under one roof, with a move to another community required if and when you need skilled nursing care.
Before you make a final decision, you’ll need to consider factors such as location, proximity to local destinations you frequent, services and amenities, pricing, available health care, and resident satisfaction and reviews. Be sure to visit any communities you plan to seriously consider.
Begin the Downsizing Process
Sorting through — and reducing — your belongings can seem overwhelming. From clothing to furniture to appliances, seasonal items and mementos, your possessions may represent who you are, and they may be difficult to give up even for a desired move.
The key to effective downsizing is starting early to give yourself plenty of time to determine what’s important for your happiness and what you can live without. As you begin the process, remember to be kind to yourself; downsizing can cause significant stress. By giving yourself plenty of time, you reduce anxiety by avoiding the need to rush.
If you know the dimensions and layout of your new residence, use that information as a guide in your downsizing. As you go through each category of your possessions, including kitchen items, furniture and clothing, consider how much will fit comfortably in your new home and what items you can easily do without. Try to focus on the items you use the most, and be ready to let the rest go.
As you sort, divide items you can donate or gift to a friend or family member. Knowing your discarded possessions will be put to good use can make the process less of an emotional burden.
Consider a Pre-Move
Before a permanent move to a senior living community, some people choose to sell their homes and move to a smaller residence — whether an apartment, condo or smaller house. Doing so can have a number of advantages, including giving you the opportunity to become accustomed to a somewhat smaller space as an interim step to senior living.
In addition, many people feel more confident in their financial status after they sell their primary home — and have the money in the bank and ready for their ultimate move to senior living.
If you’re not sure about any aspect of transitioning to senior living — from reducing your possessions to the right time to sell your home — consider working with a senior move manager. You can find a certified professional through the National Association of Senior Move Managers. A certified move manager can help you with finding your new residence, packing, moving, and getting your current residence ready for sale.
Now is the ideal time to consider selling your home, especially if you’re looking toward a move to senior living. Once you’ve completed the tasks associated with reducing your possessions and making your move, you can revel in your newfound freedom — and the many ways to enjoy it in a senior living community.