Don't Miss a Thing! The Process of Moving Into a Retirement Community

Cathy Gordon, January 23, 2013

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If you have decided to move into a retirement home, you probably have to downsize (even if you’re moving from an apartment or condo). Deciding what to take and what to get rid of can be difficult. Here are some important tips to get you started.

  1. A Complete Floor Plan. Most retirement homes provide floor plans through their website or brochures, but they often may not have the exact floor plan for your assigned room. It is important to get an accurate idea of the specific room you are moving into, including exact measurements, the location of electrical, phone, and cable outlets, and an up-to-date assessment of the storage available (closets, cupboards, etc.). If possible, plan a visit to assess your new home. Utilize the floor plan and plan your furniture selection and layout. This will also give you the opportunity to view the available cooking appliances and bring only the necessary cookware.
  1. What Is The Room Lacking? Most retirement homes are low on storage space and available lighting. Therefore it is a good idea to assess how much light you will need and plan appropriate lighting solutions. If storage space is low, be sure to include items that offer storage capabilities in your move. Also, measure the windows to determine if you have appropriate drapery or if it is provided.
  1. Community Rules and Requirements. The rules specified for your new home may be more than in an apartment or condo. Some items may not be permitted, due to potential health hazards. Most retirement homes have standards about affixing furnishings to walls (such as a television).
  1. Plan From Large to Small. When deciding what to bring with you, begin with larger furnishings first. Once you have chosen your preferred pieces, consider how they will fit into your apartment. Measure the furniture and envision how best to layout your new space. Some moving companies provide interactive programs that can help you virtually arrange your furniture, and see if you are happy with the layout and floor space. If you find you are bringing too many large  pieces you may need to decide that you need to leave some behind, or choose smaller options. Once you are happy with the overall design you can then move on to smaller items you want to bring with you—keeping in mind how much space and storage you have.
  1. What Do You Use? The possessions you use daily should definitely come with you. These may include items such as writing and reading materials. When thinking about other items, ask yourself how often you will realistically use it in the near future. If you haven’t used it in 3-6 months and you on't think you will use it, you probably will not miss it. Obviously, there will always be keepsakes and heirlooms you want to keep, but it's best to start with what is practical and important.
  1. Start Planning Early. You may not be ready to move just yet, but planning now can save you a lot of worries down the road. Even years before you decide the right accommodation for you, you should start deciding what is important to you in terms of a retirement community. The earlier you start this thought process, the better.

These guidelines can help in the planning stage, and get you through your down size easier.

Written by Cathy Gordon

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