Key steps to downsizing for retirees

Making the choice to downsize is a big decision – physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

There are many stages in the process that may lead to a mixture of emotions, ranging from feeling overwhelmed to a sense of joy and freedom at being able to lead a fulfilling life in retirement.

“Don’t leave it too late if you are thinking of moving. Move when you can rather than closer to nursing home stage. Downsizing requires a great deal of effort, both physically and mentally. There’s a lot to be done”, Ailsa Rees, a resident of Carinity Kepnock Grove in Bundaberg, said.


Lyn Doyle and Ailsa Rees are enjoy catching up at the Carinity Kepnock Grove retirement community in Bundaberg.
Lyn Doyle and Ailsa Rees enjoy catching up at the Carinity Kepnock Grove retirement community in Bundaberg.

Your first challenge is deciding what style of home you wish to downsize to. There are many options for you to consider: purchasing or building a smaller, standalone property; buying an existing unit or an apartment off-the-plan; or finding a smaller rental.

For downsizers who value a sense of community; a social and connected lifestyle; easy access to health services; and high levels of safety and security, moving to a retirement living community is well worth considering.

Carinity Retirement Lifestyle Manager, Phillip Sellwood, has helped many of our retirement living community residents weigh up the pros and cons of downsizing since he commenced in 2018.

In a recent chat, he shared some of the common questions he receives and some of the key pieces of advice he provides people who are embarking on their downsizing journey.

According to Phillip, a key starting point is to be clear on what you want and need from your new home. Prepare a list of priorities: things you feel you must have; things that would be desirable but you could sacrifice if you needed to; and features that you simply don’t want or need.

“Everyone downsizing has different needs. Some people feel they couldn’t survive without space to exercise or their own private garden. Others place a higher value on social connectedness or privacy. And others can’t see the sense in paying for facilities like a pool if they won’t use them.

“Each person is different and you need to be very clear of what you will value most in your new environment,” Phillip explained.

You’ll also need to consider the right size for your new home. If you value entertaining friends and family, a two or three-bedroom villa might be more suitable for you. Alternatively, if having lots of space isn’t a high priority, you might be able to save quite a deal of money by selecting a smaller villa.

According to Phillip, a need to feel safe and secure in your own home, along with knowing that your home will be safe while you take a holiday or spend time away from it, is important to many people.

“People get a real sense of comfort knowing that our retirement living communities provide safety, security and a 24-hour emergency call system. Knowing that these elements are taken care of for you can be a real weight off peoples’ shoulders and take a lot of the stress out of relocating,” he explained.


Carinity's Retirement Lifestyle Manager, Phillip Sellwood, has helped many of our retirement living community residents weigh up the pros and cons of downsizing.
Phillip Sellwood has helped many of Carinity retirement living community residents weigh up the pros and cons of downsizing.

It’s also important to consider what amenities you’d like to be close to in your new home. According to Ailsa, as her needs changed, proximity to supermarkets, doctors, chemists and even public transport became a higher priority.

“Apart from feeling comfortable, happy and secure in my new home, what was also important to me when considering my accommodation options was that I was in an area that had easy access to all the facilities I need – which makes a big difference to my sense of independence,” she said.

“I didn’t want to have to do maintenance, there are lovely grounds, and I don’t have to look after them. There is company if you want it and privacy if you don’t. I can go away for a few days and don’t have to worry about the place. That’s a plus.”

Talking to your loved ones and taking them along to visit your potential new home is also an important step that Phillip recommends.

“Ultimately, your family and friends know you better than anyone else. They’ll be able to provide you with a sounding board if weighing up the various options becomes a bit complicated. If you are thinking about a retirement village, I also recommend taking the time to speak with current residents to get a better understanding of what life is really like in their community,” he added.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the financial aspect of your move. Be sure to speak to your independent financial adviser.

You can prepare for this meeting by downloading a Village Comparison Document. Available from all retirement living providers, these documents outline the location, fees, village services and key information about each community.

Would you like more information about downsizing to a Carinity Retirement Living community? Take a look at our frequently asked questions or call us on 1300 109 109.

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