Downsizing and Real Estate

8/24/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

Just because you’ve lived in the same area for decades, doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever! Seniors Guide writer Terri L. Jones recently took the leap to find a new home in a new state, proving that you’re never too old to move.

I’m almost 61 and have lived in the same city since I was 28. I was a member of a gym, a church, and the art museum there; I started a business, knew all the best restaurants and stores, and had family and lots of friends close by.

But recently, my husband and I decided to move to another state. While I was eager for a new adventure, I was scared. The last time I moved, I was living with roommates. I was working with a bunch of my peers, going out to bars, dating, and regularly participating in group activities. This all made it a breeze to become integrated into the fabric of life there. Now, everything was radically different.

How would I weather the move, learn the area, meet people and make friends at my advanced age? Here are some strategies that I’m using, which you can also try if you’re planning a big move.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Remember the days when you could unpack your whole apartment in a weekend? Now, you’re probably tired after unpacking several boxes! But don’t stress about it; simply get a few of the most important rooms – like the kitchen, living room and bedroom – unpacked and arranged and then slow down and enjoy the rest. Better Homes & Gardens can wait for your photo spread!

Be neighborly

I’ve found that walking dogs is the best way to meet people in a new neighborhood. But if you don’t have dogs, find an excuse like watering your plants or getting the mail to introduce yourself if you see a neighbor outside. If your neighborhood or HOA is hosting a social gathering, RSVP yes! Attending neighborhood get-togethers will maximize your opportunities to meet and get to know those friendly folks who live around you.

It takes a village

Moving into a new home should be fun, not completely exhausting, taxing, and overwhelming. If you need moving boxes broken down, your lawn mowed, ceiling fans hung, etc., you don’t have to do it all yourself. Hire someone to help. And if you spot a neighbor while you’re struggling to carry in that heavy UPS box, ask if they’ll grab the other end and offer them a cup of coffee in return.

You’re never too old to move – or to get yourself lost (on purpose)

Using GPS 100 percent of the time thwarts your ability to really learn directions, especially as you get older, in my unscientific opinion. Instead of turning on your GPS after the first time you go somewhere, try to remember or figure out how to get there on your own. You could also put the location in GPS as a safety net but only hit “start” if you think you’ve made a wrong turn.

Become a local

Join a gym or a club, go to HOA meetings, frequent farmers markets and festivals, hang out at local coffee shops and bars on game day, register for Facebook pages targeted to the locals; do whatever you can to become acquainted with the area and soak up the local color. But while you’re trying to assimilate, don’t be shy about telling people that you’re new to the area. The real locals will enjoy giving you advice, showing you around, and helping you settle into life there.

Related: Now Is the Best Time to Move Into a CCRC

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones