On the Move: Downsizing Tips for Active Adult Retirement Living

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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In retirement, less really can give you more, especially when you downsize to an active adult retirement community. It’s true! You’ll enjoy more independence, a more active lifestyle, more amenities, and definitely more fun because you have less ‘stuff’ to clutter up your days like home maintenance, lawn care, and housekeeping. If you’re still worried about the hassle of the move itself: don’t be. These downsizing tips can help your move go much more smoothly.

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5 Downsizing Tips

It goes without saying that downsizing is a big task. Most of us have much more than we really need. By taking it one step (or tip in this case) at a time, the process is much more manageable.

Tip 1 – Take it room by room – Identify a date when your downsizing should be complete, then stop thinking big picture after that. Instead, focus on one room at a time. If that’s too much, start with one closet or cabinet and go from there.

Tip 2 – Sort it out – By this, we mean identify how you will sort your items as well as a place where you can spread out like the garage. We recommend these categories:

  • Keep: These are items you use on a regular basis. When moving to an active adult retirement community, most will likely come from the kitchen, bathroom, your wardrobe, or they’ll be keepsakes. The rule of thumb is if you haven’t used or worn something in the last year, it should not be in this category.
  • Sell: Prime candidates here would be furniture, appliances that won’t be sold with the house, lawn, and garden equipment and tools. Basically, anything in your home that you no longer need but works and would have value to others. The best way to sell these items is to hold a garage sale, list them on an online neighborhood hub like nextdoor.com or hire an estate sale company.
  • Donate or give away: There are a multitude of charitable organizations that accept donations of clean, wearable clothes, bedding, towels, and smaller household items that can help people in need. Check your local area for options, but always make sure the organizations are reputable. You might also consider gifting items that are important to you, but that you no longer need, to friends and/or family.
  • Throw away: If an item doesn’t fall into one of the above, there’s a good chance it should be thrown away especially if it’s broken or damaged. Don’t keep something you simply don’t use or want because you hate to throw things away – recycling is always an option, too!

Tip 3 – Consider your new place – While it would be nice if everything fit into one of the above categories there will likely be items that cause you some hesitation. That’s why it’s important to get a floor plan for your new place ahead of time. That will help you determine if the items in question have a place there. Also, check out our packing list to help narrow down what you need in your new active adult retirement community.

Tip 4 – Call in reinforcements – Not only will this help make the downsizing process more manageable, but it also makes it more fun! It’s a great way to reminisce and reconnect with family, friends, and neighbors while preparing for your move.

Tip 5 – Decide on a DIY move (or not) – Once the downsizing is well underway, you’ll need to consider whether to move yourself to your new active adult retirement community or to hire professional movers. In doing so, you’ll need to consider the number and weight of your boxes, the size of your furniture, whether you’ll be going up or downstairs, the distance. Most importantly, your willingness to take this on yourself versus your budget.

Check out our Active Adult Decision Guide to learn more. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!

 

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