Down­size your life, not your lifestyle

January 11, 2022

Man Dog 9652

Think­ing of downsizing?

More aging Amer­i­cans are. The main rea­son: Sim­plic­i­ty. The home where they raised a fam­i­ly has more space than they need now, and car­ing for it has become a bur­den – both in time and mon­ey. Plus there’s anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion: With a move, they have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a new life in a new space.

That’s why Rudy Smith, a Smith Vil­lage res­i­dent since 2020, sold his house. My wife of 46 years passed in 2016 and it had got­ten to the point where I could not maneu­ver very well up and down the stairs to show­er or use the stairs to the porch,” he says. One day my daugh­ter said, Dad, it’s time to move.’ And every day now I tell my daugh­ter, Thank you for help­ing me move to Smith Village.’”

It’s bet­ter to down­size now rather than later.

Mov­ing is hard at any age,” says Dr. Rod­ney Har­rell, Vice Pres­i­dent of Fam­i­ly, Home, and Com­mu­ni­ty at AARP, and it only becomes more dif­fi­cult as we grow old­er.” When you’re inde­pen­dent, you’ll be able to ful­ly enjoy the lifestyle ben­e­fits that down­siz­ing can offer, such as low­er liv­ing costs, less house-relat­ed work, and a fresh way of liv­ing with more ameni­ties and services.

If I had to do it again, I’d have done it a lit­tle soon­er,” says Marge Henry

Because I’m hav­ing fun here. I feel like myself again.”

Hero walking

You’ve down­sized your space. Is that enough? 

Sim­ply mov­ing to a small­er house or con­do may reduce your expens­es (though often not as much as peo­ple expect), but may not deliv­er on your lifestyle expec­ta­tions. For exam­ple, new friend­ships may be hard­er to make than anticipated.

Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion would be loca­tion. It could become more dif­fi­cult to get around town, espe­cial­ly if you have mobil­i­ty issues or stop driving.

A lot of peo­ple make the mis­take of focus­ing [on the space] and not loca­tion,” says Dr. Har­rell. Where your new home is locat­ed can make a big dif­fer­ence for your health and well-being.” When you’re con­sid­er­ing down­siz­ing options, ask your­self, Will my new neigh­bor­hood be walk­a­ble and acces­si­ble to com­mu­ni­ty ser­vices and ameni­ties? Will it encour­age social inter­ac­tion and enhance my independence?’

Rainbow cone

Smith Vil­lage offers a prime loca­tion in the heart of Chicago’s South­side Bev­er­ly neigh­bor­hood. That is espe­cial­ly impor­tant to res­i­dents like Leslie Rokaitis, who moved to Smith Vil­lage in 2017.

Most of my fam­i­ly and friends are from the South­side, and I’m from the South­side, and so are most of the activ­i­ties I’m involved in. I think when you’re old­er, you should be around peo­ple with sim­i­lar back­grounds and inter­ests,” she says.

Hav­ing access to Chicago’s excit­ing cul­tur­al offer­ings was essen­tial to Robert Hollins, a retired pro­fes­sor of chem­istry at Chica­go State Uni­ver­si­ty. I’ve made sev­er­al good friends here, and we go on activ­i­ties, such as local events and down­town Chica­go – the sym­pho­ny, opera and museums.” 

Hero pub

This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to upsize your life

A not-for-prof­it Life Plan Com­mu­ni­ty, like Smith Vil­lage, allows seniors to down­size to a more man­age­able space and, at the same time, enjoy a social and well­ness-based lifestyle – with life-enrich­ing ameni­ties and ser­vices right out­side their door.

I tell peo­ple that while your apart­ment may be small­er than your pre­vi­ous home, our restau­rant, pub, the­ater, gym, meet­ing spaces and patio are also part of your home,” says Smith Senior Liv­ing Sales Direc­tor Antho­ny Her­ring. So, you’re not just liv­ing in your apart­ment – you have a lot more space out­side to live in.”

And for many seniors, a Life Plan Com­mu­ni­ty may also be com­pa­ra­ble in cost to the home they’re cur­rent­ly liv­ing in. It was for Smith Vil­lage res­i­dent Peter Mar­tinez. I had lived in a house in Hyde Park on the lake­front – it was a four-sto­ry townhouse…Smith Vil­lage was very com­pet­i­tive, financially.”

Ensure you’ll be secure for the future

Two of the biggest expens­es that can hurt a retiree’s bud­get and lifestyle are health­care and long-term care expens­es. Will you still be able to afford to live where you are if you have health chal­lenges? Although a Life Plan Com­mu­ni­ty has high­er up-front costs than a rental com­mu­ni­ty, it can actu­al­ly be more cost-effec­tive in the long run because res­i­dents have life­time access to onsite assist­ed liv­ing, mem­o­ry care, skilled nurs­ing care and short-term rehabilitation.

I start­ed look­ing around at var­i­ous senior liv­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” says Ms. Rokaitis. Then I nar­rowed it down to [Life Plan] com­mu­ni­ties because of the con­tin­u­um of care. If some­thing hap­pened, my fam­i­ly wouldn’t be rush­ing around look­ing for anoth­er place for me to live.”

With a Life Plan Com­mu­ni­ty, you pay an entrance fee for your life care plus a month­ly fee, which cov­ers every­thing from your res­i­dence, house­keep­ing, meals, util­i­ties, activ­i­ties, ameni­ties and ser­vices,” says Mr. Her­ring. But you can get a large per­cent­age of that entrance fee back when you leave the com­mu­ni­ty. So you’re tak­ing care of your liv­ing costs and care needs while pre­serv­ing your assets for the future. You won’t find that com­bi­na­tion any­where else.”

Could a Life Plan Com­mu­ni­ty be the best down­siz­ing solu­tion for you?

Call Smith Vil­lage today, and sched­ule a per­son­al­ized tour. You’ll also learn about our Tri­al Stay Pro­gram, which allows you to expe­ri­ence Smith Vil­lage for 90 days with­out any obligation.

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