As time goes on, lifestyles naturally change. Kids move out, we retire, we take on new hobbies, our income level and our health changes. It’s a good idea to occasionally reassess whether one’s current home is supporting one’s current lifestyle, or hindering it.
Many continue to live in their homes out of habit or nostalgia—it’s the home they bought when they got married, it’s where they raised their kids, it’s the place where they have lots of memories, and it’s where all of their personal possessions are kept.
As time passes, homeowners should ask themselves the following questions: Does taking care of your home leave you enough time to pursue your current hobbies and interests? Are you sure that your home will not need costly or complicated repairs in the future? Do you still use all of the rooms in your house on a regular basis? Is it still easy for you to go up and down stairs? Are you able to maintain your yard and clear snow by yourself? Is it convenient for you to visit family and friends from where you live now?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you may want to consider either modifying your home to make it safer and more convenient for you, or moving to a new home that better supports your current lifestyle.
The Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights (216-381-6100 ext. 22) offers free workshops for seniors who prefer to stay in their homes and “age-in-place.” The workshops teach homeowners how to make their own small repairs, advise them on hiring contractors for major repairs, and provide guidance on modifying a home.
If you think it might be time for you to move, a relocation specialist can help you make that decision and help you through the process. Lee-Ann Spacek, owner of North Coast Residential Relocation (216-513-6800), recently worked with a Cleveland Heights widow whose children live in another state. Spacek helped the woman clean out her possessions, sell her home, and purchase a smaller home that gave her more time for her hobbies and to visit her children.
As a moving coordinator and advocate, Spacek creates a schedule and to-do list, and connects homeowners with specialists who will list a home for sale, help clean out and organize a home, conduct an estate sale, make repairs and cosmetic improvements to get it ready to sell, and pack and move the homeowner to a new home. “As an advocate for seniors,” said Spacek, “I help manage and monitor the entire process from start to finish.”
Jim Ventura, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Hunter Realty (440-227-4988), recently worked with a retired Cleveland Heights couple whose home was too big for them, and who were weary of cold winter weather. Ventura helped them downsize to a smaller house in a warmer state, and connected them with professionals who assisted them at every stage.
Ventura had to modify his own house after suffering a debilitating illness two years ago. He then became an aging-in-place specialist, and advises people how to make their homes safer, more comfortable and convenient.