The Upside of Downsizing

  • By Linda Hudwalker Bowman
  • 24 Jul, 2017
The joys of downsizing your home

For seniors who are ready to fully enjoy their retirement and simplify their lives, downsizing from a large home to a senior living community can provide the carefree lifestyle they crave. While moving from a long-time home can bring up sentimental and nostalgic feelings, many of today’s older adults look forward to eliminating some of the hassles that come along with home ownership.

Are You Ready to Downsize Your Home? 

You probably feel like every room in your home and all the contents have bittersweet memories attached to them, making choosing what items to bring with you to your new, smaller home difficult. However, it’s important to remember why you’re considering downsizing your home in the first place. Perhaps there are rooms you no longer have a use for that have essentially become storage spaces.

Some of the main reasons you should consider downsizing your home include:

Reduce your stress. Your new, smaller home will not only be easier to maintain, but you also won’t have to worry about all those “do-it-yourself” type of repairs- let someone else take care of them! You’ll find your stress levels decreasing significantly, since you won’t be worried about maintaining your home and some of the financial burden will be lessened.

Less home maintenance.
Yardwork, power-washing the exterior and driveway, and cleaning a large home from top to bottom is a lot of work and can take up a lot of your precious time. Even some of the simplest tasks can become overwhelming as we age, and many might become too difficult or dangerous for you to handle on your own.

Eliminate unneeded extra space.
After the kids have moved out, having four bedrooms and three bathrooms becomes unnecessary for just you and your spouse. Often these rooms end up turning into storage spaces you may very rarely step foot into. Like we just mentioned above, maintaining all that extra space is unnecessary and simply too much work.

Ease financial worries.
Even if your home has appreciated in value, the cost of staying there is always on the rise. Regardless of whether your mortgage is paid in full, the cost of upkeep, taxes, and big-ticket repairs when something goes wrong, like a broken furnace or leaky roof, can quickly add up. In a senior living community, you’ll be relieved of these types of financial burdens, and you will also be able to put your home equity to good use.

Enjoy your free time.
Downsizing your home allows you to recapture some of that lost free time and spend it on the things you enjoy doing, whether it’s being with friends and family, traveling, exercising, or learning a new hobby.

Build new relationships.
When you have more free time, you’ll also have more time to meet new people and build lasting, meaningful relationships. Various studies show that staying socially active as you age offers a variety of amazing benefits to seniors, like a strengthened immune system, better mental health, and alleviating symptoms of depression.  

Feel safe and secure.
In a senior living community, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that assistance is always available should an emergency occur. You can be as active as you choose to be, knowing that help is usually just the push of a button away.

Enjoy a Fulfilling Lifestyle at Western Home Communities

Build the future you desire at Western Home Communities. With two campuses in Cedar Falls and a variety of comfortable living options   designed to meet your needs and preferences, you’ll have more time to enjoy all that life has to offer. Call us at 319-277-2141 to schedule a personal tour.

The Western Home Communities Blog

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 17 Jan, 2018

A recent study found that the average adult over the age of 65 years old takes between two and seven prescription medications every day for various chronic conditions. In addition to prescription medications, many aging adults combine over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or essential vitamins to their daily routine. These various medications allow seniors to effectively manage their symptoms enjoy the highest quality of life, longer.

When it comes to aging adults, managing medications can be one of the most challenging tasks. Polypharmacy , or the use of multiple medications, is a growing concern among the aging adult population today. Although taking certain medications can provide many health benefits, improper medication management can lead to various health complications, like muscle weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite or depression.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 05 Jan, 2018

That cold, bitter wind biting through your coat as you walk down the driveway to get the mail. The icy sidewalk, treacherous even in your thick-soled boots. Increased chances of catching the common cold or flu, which can easily lead to pneumonia.

The above are just a few examples of the dangers winter can pose to seniors. Instances of hypothermia, the chances of slipping on ice and breaking a bone, or the risk of getting sick all increase over the cold months. Additionally, when seniors live alone in their homes they can be more prone to social isolation, as it may be too dangerous to drive to meet friends or family, or even to head to the grocery store for essentials.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 14 Dec, 2017

As one of the most common elective surgeries in the United States, more than 320,000 hip replacements are performed every year. There are a variety of benefits to having a joint replacement surgery, including chronic pain relief, increased mobility, and reduced stiffness. In fact, 90 percent of those who undergo hip replacements report relief from pain associated with arthritis or injury and an overall better quality of life, which allows them to continue living as independently as possible.

After consulting with a physician and making the decision to undergo a hip replacement surgery, you may be concerned about the recovery time that follows. Although immediately following the surgery there may be some initial pain and soreness, most patients are able to get out of bed and move about the same day as the operation.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 06 Dec, 2017

Throughout our lives, we often have moments of forgetfulness where we can’t remember the location we parked the car at the grocery store, misplace our keys, or forget a new acquaintance’s name. And, as you get older, you might start to experience these memory lapses somewhat more often.

Forgetfulness can naturally be a part of the aging process. However, some seniors may start to become concerned that something more serious is going on with their brains, especially knowing that Alzheimer’s disease is most prevalent in adults over the age of 65. This is why it’s important to understand the difference between age-related memory loss and some of the common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Arming yourself with the facts allows you to make an educated decision about when it might be time to seek your doctor’s advice.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 30 Oct, 2017

As we age, our bodies begin to go through physical changes. We lose flexibility and range of motion, or develop pain associated with certain chronic conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. In fact, by the time adults enter into their forties, they begin to losing around three-to-five percent of their muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life.

Although most aging adults are aware of the risks associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, many stray away from taking part in a routine fitness program out of fear they will not be able to safely complete the exercises. A recent study revealed that approximately 67 percent of people aged 65 or older are inactive for over eight hours each day. Staying active as you age is vital to physical health, but also is an important part of maintaining independence and social well-being.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 23 Oct, 2017

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Older adults are also the fastest-growing segment of the online population. They’re utilizing the internet in many of the same ways as their children and grandchildren, too, like for staying connected to others, getting their daily news, finding quick answers to health-related questions and more.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 16 Oct, 2017

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According to the National Institutes of Health , proper nutrition can reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone loss and even some types of cancer. Aging adults who eat a nutritious diet can also lower their risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 09 Oct, 2017

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Regardless of the reason for the fall, knowing how to prevent one from occurring can be key to your overall quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injuries in those age 65 and older. In fact, every year more than 2.5 million older individuals are treated in emergency rooms for an injury due to a fall. And, after you’ve fallen once, your chances of falling again actually double.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 02 Oct, 2017

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For seniors, occupational therapy assists in combatting the physical limitations that can present themselves over time. In fact, over one-third of occupational therapists work with seniors that have been affected by illness, injury or a mental health condition. By focusing on what the person can do and not on their restrictions, occupational therapists help seniors with the activities of daily life, including cooking, dressing, bathing and eating.

As an advocate for the senior population, occupational therapists can also play a key role in the memory loss some aging adults may face. Therapists use a step-by-step approach to assess a person’s cognitive abilities and use behavioral adjustments to assist with any changes in personality. First, the therapist will evaluate the individual’s physical and cognitive abilities. Then, the individual is tested with a series of constructed tasks and a personalized plan is created to meet his or her unique needs. If cognitive abilities continue to decline over time, the plan is adjusted to provide more sensory stimulation and educate the family caregivers on next steps.

By Linda Hudwalker Bowman 16 Aug, 2017

The older you get, the more difficult it can become to stay physically active. In fact, as you entered your forties, you began to lose three-to-five percent of your muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life. Chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis can make certain movements painful, limiting your flexibility and your range of motion. Maybe you simply don’t know what types of exercises are best or safest for your individual needs, or you’re wary of joining the fancy new gym down the street.

However, while exercise is important for those of all ages, active seniors enjoy a variety of additional benefits to their overall health. For instance, senior fitness helps with healthy aging in the following ways:

Managing chronic conditions. The more you move, the better you feel! Exercise is crucial for managing and reducing pain from conditions like arthritis, as regular movement helps lubricate the joints and decrease stiffness. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes and stroke.

Boosting mental health, memory and cognition.
Exercise is a known mood-booster, and it may be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your memory performance, too. Exercise increases heart rate, which helps pump more oxygen to the brain. It also releases a variety of hormones in the brain that promote new cell growth.

Decreasing the need for some medications.
A combination of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises can reduce the need for the variety of medications you may take daily to manage your physical and mental conditions. For instance, exercise can help reduce systolic blood pressure and decrease your need for blood pressure medication.

Preventing falls.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors; in fact, one out of three adults age 65 or older suffer a debilitating fall each year. Adding balance exercises can help keep you steady on your feet and lead to a higher level of independence.

Improving sleep habits.
Seniors who suffer from insomnia find that exercise helps exhaust them enough to enjoy restful sleep throughout the night. It makes sense – after all, if you are more active throughout the day, you will be more tired in the evening. Just make sure to avoid strenuous activity two hours before bedtime.

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