Have you ever really had a place of your own? How often in the past did you hunt for a house based solely on what school district it was in, whether it was close to the where you worked, or if it had a yard or enough bedrooms? This was all well and good when you were in your 30s or 40s but what about now? Home was where your family was and you bought your house or your condo based on their needs. All of your choices, up until now, revolved around the other people in your life.
If you were lucky you were able to build your house from scratch, but most of us bought from previous owners and were reasonably content with our decisions. If the house was structurally sound we managed with a fresh coat of paint or perhaps a new roof. If you were dreadfully creative you might have been able to create the home of your dreams, but the rest of us never seemed to have time to get into knocking out walls or widening staircases. The years went by too quickly.
Some people become so attached to their homes and their neighborhoods that they can not imagine moving anywhere else. Others are either extremely practical or are true “free spirits” who don’t care where they live as long as they have a roof over their heads. We moved often, so starting over every few years was what we did. There are pro’s and con’s to both lifestyles, but a nomadic existence does make it easier to make changes. I can speak from experience when I say that moving often is not such a bad thing. At the very least it teaches you how to start over, meet new people and explore more options.
Regardless of your reasoning, it is time for you to embrace retirement and figure out where you want to live. The house (or apartment or condominium) is yours now to do with as you please. This could very well be your last home so do whatever it takes to make it a safe and comfortable place to live. Before making any decisions, consider what your home really means to you. Is it just a place to sleep and eat or is it a place where you can entertain friends and let your hair down. Sharon B. Siepel (Essential Survival Guide to Living on Your Own) writes about the importance of considering your personal priorities. Decide what is important to you right now.
As you get older you know that convenience, practically and location are important. Safety features, comfort, spacious floor plans, practical furnishings with minimum upkeep are more important than modern art and shiny floors. Affordability goes without saying. Whether you are considering a senior apartment, a retirement community, a new house, or renovating the family home, remember that where you live goes beyond just having a place to sleep.
Articles on gerontology always remind us to consider current and anticipated needs. According to Karen Brown Wilson in an article written for (Generations: Winter 2005/2006), affordability, accessibility, and acceptability are the big “A’s” to keep in mind when deciding on a place to live. We all like to think that we are invincible and will be able to live our lives without services, and many older people are, but be sure that if the need presents itself that you are somewhere where help is available.