Moving Home – Is it Ever too Late?

Moving Home – is it ever too late

If the idea of moving home is even hovering around the edges of your thoughts, chances are you have some very good reasons for looking into this option. Relocating is something most people consider during the course of their lifetime, and seniors aren’t immune from it. In fact, they often have more reason than most to take the idea seriously.

No matter how much we look after ourselves through diet and exercise, the fact is health becomes a greater concern as we age. It’s not uncommon for us to find a home that once served our needs, no longer caters for the physical challenges we may face. Steps, stairs, difficult driveways, sections requiring more care than we can now devote to them, homes requiring maintenance we can no longer attend to ourselves … the list goes on. With this list, comes expenses we may not have planned for either. In fact, the financial burden that comes with staying in our homes is often the catalyst for our wishing to leave them.

Not that moving comes without its own considerable costs – land agent fees, packers, movers, not to mention the time spent looking for a new home… it can all seem overwhelming. Yet, it is most often the case (60% of the time according to one 2023 study) that seniors are left with a significant amount of cash when they do eventually sell their family home and move to a smaller one in a lower priced area.

So could it actually be the emotional ties to a home which prevent a move? We are all attached to a home we have occupied for many years – the happy memories of all that has gone on within its walls, the renovations we have worked hard to achieve, the gardens we’ve created and tended, the loved ones who shared our home with us for so many years, and who will never know the new home we may move to. Leaving all this behind can feel impossible, yet, so too, may be the thought of facing retirement years alone, a situation many seniors can so quickly find themselves in.

Age Concern NZ reports “The majority of older people are severely lonely”, and no wonder. The company of adult children and grandchildren, who once lived just a few streets or suburbs away, and regularly visited, can disappear overnight when they, themselves, move home. Sadly, for many older people, friends become fewer over time. Moving to a location such as a retirement village or a small, well-serviced community, can be a way of finding the sort of company that restores emotional and mental health.

But even when we know, after careful consideration, and discussion with family, a move is in our best interests, the logistics can be so overwhelming we dismiss the idea. The thought of preparing a home for sale, and sorting and disposing of possessions, can feel exhausting. We are fortunate, in New Zealand, to have several companies offering moving services designed especially for seniors. From preparing your home for sale, to emptying pantries and helping you dispose thoughtfully (and often profitably) of possessions you don’t want to take with you, they have the experience and staff to guide you through the various stages of moving home. You needn’t feel alone.

As for finding new service providers in what will be your new location, this doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. Sourcing medical care, dentistry, hairdressing, religious services, and recreational groups, can be something you work on slowly once you know the destination you’ll be moving to, but before you shift home. Citizens Advice Bureau and family can help with contacts, and reading internet reviews can assist with choices. Existing providers, such as your bank, can advise on local branches. When you arrive at your new home, everything can be in place.

Seniors are as diverse as any other demographic. Which is why moving home is such a personal choice. The important thing to understand, is it’s never too late to move home, if a move is in your best interests.