Why Downsizing isn’t Downgrading in Senior Living (and How to Make it Easier)

Man and woman stacking packed brown boxes

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. 



It seems like Americans spend their whole lives trying to get more. Whether it’s money, success, or stuff; having more is often regarded as the ultimate status symbol. Perhaps that’s one of the big reasons why downsizing seems to go completely against what we’ve worked so hard for. But in retirement, downsizing isn’t a downgrade at all. It’s an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the best kind of more — getting more out of life! We’d argue the very best place to do that is in senior living. Here’s why:

The Deal with Downsizing

You may be surprised to learn how many retirees are warming to the idea of downsizing. In fact, according to the Demand Institute, more than 40 percent of Americans aged 50 to 64 plan to move within the next five years. And boomers are expected to place a whopping 26 million homes on the market by 2030, per the Policy Center.

As for why, the University of Michigan’s National Health and Retirement Study found:

  • 28% moved for family reasons (to be near children or to care for an older relative)
  • 22% moved because of financial stress
  • 21% moved to upgrade to a better house and/or location
  • 16% moved for traditional retirement reasons (seeking warmer climate or leisure)

Downsizing to Senior Living

Even if we’ve convinced you to consider downsizing, the next question is, “Why senior living?” You certainly have other options, but none may give you quite the same level of benefits in one place:

  • Carefree living – Forget worrying about the mortgage, property taxes, home insurance and unexpected repair bills. Even better, you’ll have housekeeping, laundry and home maintenance taken care of for you.
  • Resort-like amenities – The measly two weeks of vacation during your working days has nothing on this! With beautiful grounds and amenities such as a pool, fitness center and restaurant-style dining you’ll feel like you’re on vacation all the time. 
  • More convenience – Senior living communities are specifically located in the center of it all, with easy access to the services, shopping and entertainment you want, and perhaps even to your family and friends.
  • Peace of mind – Often, senior living communities have a continuum of care that includes retirement living, assisted living and/or memory care on the same campus to support your evolving health needs.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, downsizing to senior living can do wonders for your overall well-being. Communities offer an ever-changing calendar of social activities and outings, educational and enrichment programs, fitness classes and even volunteer opportunities.

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For more information on downsizing to senior living, check out our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing!

How to Downsize

Now that we’ve covered the why, next we’ll help you with the how. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so we like to break this into two parts: your house and your stuff.

Tips for downsizing your home:

  • Make inexpensive updates – A fresh coat of paint and updated lighting can go a long way.
  • Make smart investments – If your home needs more extensive updates, put money where you’ll get the most return like kitchens, bathrooms, landscaping and exterior updates such as your front entry, siding and/or paint.
  • Declutter – You want buyers to picture themselves making memories there, so remove personal photos/memorabilia and, in general, clean up and clear off wherever you can.
  • Stage the house – Turn on the lights, open drapes and fluff pillows to create a welcoming feel.
  • Inspect yourself – Be proactive before you list by doing your own inspection to uncover hidden issues; then take care of them or offer a one-year home warranty plan to give buyers peace of mind.

Tips for downsizing your stuff:

  • Go slow – You don’t have to do everything at once. Just have packing supplies on-hand and focus on one room or area of the house at a time.
  • Divide and conquer – Place items into categories such as: keep, donate or gift, sell and throw away or recycle.
  • Let it go – It’s emotional to part with items you treasure so consider gifting to family or friends, donating to a worthy cause or taking photos of these items to make the process easier. 
  • Ask for help – Downsizing is more manageable, and more fun, with friends and family to help and reminisce.

Senior living offers benefits here. Request a floor plan to help evaluate how much space you’ll have so it’s easier to decide what will fit. The community may also provide certain items for your new home, so ask about that as well. Plus, communities may have recommendations on movers that specialize in downsizing and/or additional downsizing tips.

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