I spend a lot of time sharing stories about downsizing, but another option as we grow older is to age in place.
According to an article about aging in place by Jennifer Legge, a Yale study “revealed that persons with a positive attitude toward aging lived on average 7.5 years longer than those who feared aging or viewed it as something that was bad.”
Similar conclusions have been found in a variety of studies done on the subject of aging. There are often so many things about life that we can’t control, but for the things that we can, I think it’s important to make informed decisions so we can try for the best outcomes for ourselves and our loved ones. And, it turns out, finding a living situation that we can have a positive attitude about can (quite literally) add years to your life!
I’ve encountered many different scenarios around the idea of “aging in place.” Over the years, I’ve learned that hearing the stories of others can help show us all of the possibilities that are out there, and sometimes hearing someone else’s story can bring clarity to our own choices.
Here are a few very different stories of aging in place that might help shed light on your own situation:
One particular situation that comes to mind from a few years back is when I helped lease out a client’s condominium unit to an elderly lady. This woman had lost her husband, and both of her daughters wanted her to move closer to them. It turns out that their mom should not have been living on her own at all, and the family was in denial about it.
Whenever I have a condo listed in the Vaughan area, I get quite a few calls from sons and daughters about finding their mom and/or dad a place that they could downsize into. Sometimes this is the right move (like it was for my parents), but sometimes it’s not that simple.
In this case, the mom was showing signs of confusion and forgetfulness, and although I don’t want to jump to conclusions, it seemed like she had dementia.
At one point, this elderly woman left the water on in the bathroom which plugged up the sink. The water overflowed causing a great deal of water damage to the suite she rented, along with damage to the unit below and some common areas. After this incident, her children didn’t even want to help their mom move out so we could have the floors in place. The whole situation was so hard because while the kids moving their mom into a condo was a big step, it wasn’t the right one.
Recently, my next door neighbour lost his wife to dementia. He’s 83 years old and still pretty active for his age, and now he lives alone in a 2,700-square-foot home. It might seem like the right move for him is to downsize, but he has the help of his daughter who lives directly behind him and his son lives right around the corner.
I just couldn’t think of a place that he could move to that would be better that where he is now—he’s already surrounded by help. Although the loss of his wife has been incredibly hard on him, his current living situation suits him for the time being.
A recent sale I had was for a couple who wanted to “age in place.” They stayed in their big family home until they were in their 90s, and I finally sold their home for them in January. They lived in it for 35 years!
They’re downsizing into a 2-bedroom rental building literally right around the corner from their old home. It sure helps that they have 4 friends who live in the building—now they can socialize with them anytime they want since they’re only an elevator ride away!
There’s no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to the needs each of us will experience as we grow older. Knowing this guides me with each new client that I help—I make sure to tailor each aspect of buying and selling depending on what each person’s unique needs are.
Curious to learn more about the options for you or your aging parents? Let’s start the conversation!
Your Friend. Your Neighbour. Your Realtor.