• Senior Living: 3 Questions You May Be Asking Yourself

    "Are we too young to move to a senior living community?" One couple answers this and other questions before they made their move.

    Senior Living: 3 Questions You May Be Asking Yourself

    "Are we too young to move to a senior living community?" One couple answers this and other questions before they made their move.

It’s a big decision to move to a senior living community, but when Bob and Wendy Gustafson received the call asking if they wanted to select an apartment in the new Twin Lakes Expansion building, they came to a “yes” pretty easily and together.“We could have stressed over the downsizing, change in routine, new space, or started asking ourselves if we were too young,” says Wendy, “but we just knew it was the right time.”

The couple joined the Twin Lakes Diamond Club (a priority waitlist) years earlier. That list led to the recent expansion project that includes 51 new apartment homes scheduled to be completed in early 2018. See the floorplans and find out more about the homes here.

Of all the questions they asked themselves, these are the three we hear most often.

Questions When Moving to a Senior Living Community

1. Are We Too Young To Move?

Everyone asks themselves this when considering a move to a senior living community, but there’s no ‘magic age’ to move. For Bob and Wendy, it was about moving while they were healthy and active so they could enjoy their new home and all the community amenities and services.

“We wanted to be intentional and make the move when we are able to do it our way,” Bob adds. “Not under duress or an emergency situation. We wanted to have the say on where we lived and we wanted a continuing care retirement community meaning the community offers several levels of senior housing and care.”

The couple wanted to avoid a situation they witnessed with a family member. The family member had to move from senior living facilities nearly a half dozen times due to facilities not being able to accommodate his health condition. It was a sad and traumatic situation they never want to be in.

2. How Will We Adjust to A New Routine?

When you’ve raised your children in a family home and lived there for many years after they have left, your routine is pretty well established. You have good friends among your neighbors, you know where to shop for groceries, and the best traffic routes to get where you want to go.

For Bob and Wendy, they are embracing the change in routine because part of that change is freedom. “I feel that I am gaining independence when I don’t worry about things like I ought to be making meals more than once a week,” Wendy says with a laugh. Luckily for the Gustafson’s, there are dining options at Twin Lakes offering wide variety of entrées at multiple venues with the convenience of dine-in, carryout or delivery.

They are also looking forward to freedom from homeownership and home maintenance.

The couple expect to continue to stay active with friends, family, volunteer work and their clubs. “I’m going to branch out now and do more things in arts and crafts. I took some classes in watercolor and I’d like to get back to knitting. I’d like to be in a book club, a Bible study and do more of the physical fitness stuff.” Wendy adds.

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3. How Can We Downsize to Fit in Our New Space?

Getting rid of things accumulated over the years can be a daunting task. For Bob and Wendy, they also felt the loss of the family home for the children. “There was a sudden realization of how this move will impact them. A bittersweet thing,” Wendy says.

Yet one of the main reasons for moving was their children. “I want them to know we are safe and sound, and we have everything we need going forward,” Wendy says. “They always know where to find us. We’re going to be right here.”

Downsizing Strategy

Clearing out is a slow process and takes time, Bob and Wendy had yard sales and are donating items to help downsize. Here are tips to help:

  • Use plastic bins to sort things into “yard sale/dispose of,” “sort thru later” and “keep for the move.”
  • Rent a storage locker to remove things from the house – helps in determining if you will miss those items.
  • Have timed yard sales, 6-12 months apart.
  • Gather the family and pass items to those who most want them.
  • Identify donation sites for excess furniture (Goodwill, Re-Store, St. Vincent DePaul, etc.)
  • For items that cannot be donated, contact a service like 1-800-Got Junk.