Seniors on the Coast – March/April 2019

Home Truths.

One of the familiar dilemmas moving into the ‘third-age’ of life is the issue of where to live.  Once the family home becomes too big for two or one, should you downsize?  Should you consider your next move to be a ‘by design’ over 55’s lifestyle village or might you need a more supported environment with higher care options for the future?  Or are you happy where you are?

When do you begin planning for this?

These conversations with your partner and family can be very confronting and challenging – and for some – a very unwelcome contemplation.  It can bring up deeper issues about independence and financial capacity, as well as stir up the family dynamics, revealing any cracks and fissures of relationships between parents, children and siblings.

No wonder it is a conversation that is so often avoided until it becomes a crisis or issue.   However, these conversations are worse when left too late, and options can become limited when you are on the back foot.

Just because we are growing older doesn’t mean we stop planning for our future life. It doesn’t mean you don’t still plan for the best life you can have.  Sure, be sensible and practical and have your Plan B in place too, but today, the invitation is to be bold, be brave, be excited even, and make plans for the best, plans that have you excited and happy for your future life and love.

Some things to consider are:

How do I want to spend my time? What brings me joy? For example if you are still very social and active and you move about the community a lot, it may determine you stay local and close to transport and your favourite places. Do you love beach or bush? City or Country?  Dream up your greatest outcome and work out what you can make reality.

What is not working for me currently? What don’t I want/need anymore?  For some people, this might be the upkeep of a garden and an old or large house that needs regular maintenance.  It may invite the idea for a modern upgrade into an apartment or villa lifestyle. Do you need to ditch the stairs and hills? Certainly my current ‘treehouse’ with a million stairs might not work us in another decade’s time!

Do I need to be closer to family & friends? Do I need better access to support, care and community? OK, so this may a bit close to the bone uncomfortable, but I invite you to consider this now and take charge of these future contingencies before you don’t get a say.  My 75year old active and engaged and funky fashion icon of a mum recently sold her home of 30years and opted for an apartment style luxe 55+ lifestyle in the same area. She was not prepared to move away from where her friends and life happens and she loves being close to a ‘community’ where everyone knows each other. There are communal gardens and a residence lounge for easy, visible access to a village style way of being and then she can retreat into her own independent and private home.  There are lifts as well as stairs, and in theory, we can see this arrangement suiting mum through for many years and decades to come. In fact, we hope this could be her only and last move, with services easily brought in to support her needs should her capacity ever reduce.

What can I afford? And most importantly, a conversation with a financial planner is advisable, but for now, the first questions might be, is the capital in your home best kept as an asset or do I need to release the cash to fund a more suitable lifestyle plan?  How will changes affect my Will and current financial commitments and any dependents or family needs?  Is there enough to cover me living a full long life and adapt to my changing needs?

Our homes are important sanctuaries and how we arrange our living space has a significant impact on how we feel supported and able to live and love in the way that best suits us.  They are unique expressions of us and our relationships.  As we grow and change and evolve, our home space can and does change and evolve around us.  In many ways, the most important consideration is how will this home space support me to live and love best?

Much love, Sarah