Our latest real estate column features Lynda Gorges, Broker, Re/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage, offering her unique take on housing in the community.
Many seniors say they would prefer to keep living in their homes for as long as they can, paying for home care, as necessary. Unless circumstances change, because of health or finances, they will continue to enjoy the independence of being in their own homes and the familiarity of their neighbourhood.
On the other hand, many seniors are choosing to move. Seniors are in better health and more active than ever before and want a lifestyle that doesn’t include snow removal, garden and lawn care and all of the responsibilities that come with a house.
Downsizers have a variety of choices. Many have decided to rent, purchase a condo, or other form of turnkey ownership that offers them the freedom to enjoy life. Some are taking advantage of Toronto’s high real estate prices by selling and moving to less expensive areas. When you live in a neighbourhood like Leaside, this is an extremely difficult decision, but aside from the financial aspect, the motivation is often to be closer to children and grandchildren. Others may decide that the best option may be a seniors’ residence, catering to a healthy lifestyle in an active and social environment.
Downsizing is far too big a topic to cover in this one article, but, if you are contemplating a move in your future, the one piece of advice I’d offer is to start deciding early what to do with all of your “stuff” and slowly begin to make a plan.
Clear out your garage, shed, basement or attic of things you not only haven’t used but haven’t looked at in the last few years. It may be premature to make the decision of what you do want to take with you, but you can decide what you don’t want to take.
As time gets closer and your plan is becoming a reality, you can decide what has sentimental value and what is practical to take with you to be comfortable in your new home. I’m reminded of a lovely lady who had an autographed poster of Tom Selleck on the back of a door in her Leaside home. She noticed that Tom was looking a bit older, with sprinkles of silver in his hair and mustache, and the lines on his face were more deeply etched than she remembered. She asked her husband if he knew how this might have happened. He said, “If I have to age, so does Tom.” The memory of her husband’s wonderful sense of humour lives on as she decides on the perfect spot for Tom in her new home.
After deciding what you definitely want to keep, ask your family or those close to you what they would like to have. Get them involved in the decision-making process early on. Today’s younger generation, in general, may not be as interested in keeping Grandma’s good china and silverware, as they once were. Find out what is meaningful for them to hold onto and make sure that these items are noted.
Now you can decide what valuables you want to sell and what charitable organizations you feel good about, knowing that your donations will be passed on to people who need them the most.
If this all feels a bit overwhelming, there are experts who can help you with every aspect of this process, including organizers, appraisers, packers, movers and a variety of other services. By starting early, you are affording yourself the opportunity to make thoughtful decisions in a relaxed way, avoiding regrets later on. Enjoy the memories, as they unfold – you’ve earned them.
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