Seniors & Downsizing


I'm always looking for articles and blog posts about apartment living.

But what I read is that most refer to apartment living as a temporary dwelling. A place to land until they can save up enough money to buy their permanent home.


I know this may be what many people are striving for, particularly young people. But there also is a segment of the population that actually want to live in an apartment or condo.

And many of those are 55+ and seniors. Those who now yearn to live a simpler life. 

I'm in that category.


When we're looking for our new downsized home, we must take our current needs into consideration.

As you know a big part of my choosing this particular apartment was twofold. The huge fenced patio was a big draw, and the fact that it is one level living. 

This is my home.

Thus it is important to me to make it as nice as I can afford to make it. And why I have paid for some updates on my own.

For instance, when I moved in I chose a taller toilet due to my ankle injury. And then recently I had a new vanity put in, and it is also taller and better suited to my needs.


I can create wildlife gardens right here in the middle of a big city. I can create an outdoors conducive to nature and my love of birds. 

I love a challenge. Hand me one and I'm happy to chip away at solving a problem.

And then I'm determined to figure out a way to accomplish it. 

Last spring I wanted a gazebo. The one that fit my needs was a canvas topped gazebo that is more portable than one made of wood. And of course much, much cheaper.


It is so important to love where you live. I know I say that a lot.

I have no desire whatsoever to own another home. My income fluctuates, so it would be pure folly on my part. 

Also my age and my ankle injury has to be taken into account when it comes to housing. 

I need and desire small, and as maintenance free as possible. While still giving me what I want in a home that includes outdoor living.

If you're looking to soon downsize due to age or health or whatever, see it as a positive step.

Embrace it as just another wonderful chapter in your journey. And make it a place you're proud to call home.


23 comments

  1. The smaller the better for me. I think of retiring to a "tiny house" on a lake but so many have size building restrictions, as in minimum square footage enough for a family. So I will probably choose a condo or apartment with an outdoor space for container gardening. I want that lake view, though. I currently live in an efficiency with a wooded creek view and small container garden I have to fight the temptation to expand! I enjoy it. Still, I dream of a place where I make the decisions, not the landlord.

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  2. That is where we are headed, Brenda. Downsizing and I am actually looking forward to it (on most levels). I am not sure just what I want yet but outdoor space will be important to me, too. I would really love to be by the ocean but that would mean leaving family behind for part of the year. I am slowly disposing of THINGS...and I am starting to think of them as just that-THINGS!

    I am so happy that you like where you are (in spite of the problems you have encountered living there) and you have a great outdoor space! xo Diana

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  3. I love the "home" you have created. They could give you a box car and you would turn it into the neatest home ever. You are one talented lady! I love your patio and I wondered how your canopy top is holding up? You have created such an neat outdoor space with your plants and accessories.

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  4. My mother in law is 87 years old. She has lived in the same apartment for the past 14 years. The entire set of apartments require that residents be 50 years of age or older. It's a great place. It's in Illinois. They don't let people paint the walls or change anything though..... but that's okay with her since decorating has never been of great importance to her. BUT, these types of residences can be hard to get into and generally have very long waiting lists. It's a great place, but I do with they would let family members come in and paint the walls something other than white!

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  5. Brenda, this is so true! I no longer wish to own a home. The maintenance and costs seem overwhelming to me. I'm so happy in my duplex in my nice community. I too try to make my place as comfy as possible. When my Mom moved in next door we also had higher toilets put in. We have also added new faucets in both our kitchens. My only wish is that we had a nice fenced patio like you do, but otherwise this is pretty perfect!

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  6. I'm with you, Brenda. I can't wait to downsize to a small condo on one level with a little courtyard like yours.

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  7. It's good to downsize and get into a single-level home before you HAVE to. The older we get, the harder it is to change, to adapt. And I've seen so many older people end up prisoners in their homes. You are a long way from being elderly (we're the same age), but you will probably age better for living where you do, in the middle of a city, in a place that's physically doable.
    People do consider apartments their "forever" homes, but in big cities where standalone houses are rare (NY, Paris, London, Amsterdam...).

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  8. My husband and I downsized a year ago to a home less than half the size of what we had before. It is 1100 sq ft, perhaps not so small by some standards. It has been a difficult adjustment for me. I sold a lot of furniture prior to moving, however, what we still have is just too big for such a small space. Not all of us have the budget to replace our furniture. Sometimes when purchasing a much older home you don't see things that need to be updated until you are actually living in it, things that were covered up by the previous owners, and are a safety hazard. Electrical and plumbing issues are not cheap. Neither one of us want to own another home. And even though I have had difficulty adjusting to this one I have decided we could downsize even more. I could be very happy living in a space such as yours. Your outdoor patio seems to add a sense of spaciousness to your apartment making it look larger than it probably is. You have done such a beautiful job making it look cozy. I truly envy you! Your posts have been such an inspiration to me in many aspects. I find your honesty and unpretentiousness (is there such a word?) so refreshing!

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  9. Believe me, at this time of year when the outside chores seem overwhelming, I can definitely see the value in a condo or similar! Maybe someday, but for now, while I am still able to tackle the chores on my own, I can't imagine living anywhere else.

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  10. luv this article thank you for sharing. We currently live in a massive home way to much for us . We are not near retirement but have come to realize we have accumulated stuff- and its just stuff ! We have no children so what the heck would become of this stuff ? We are selling items to down size and cant wait too do it .. We love the out doors and we do have 6 dogs all adopted and spoiled of course. So where we do land will be very important to us , outside yard single level, garden. Ahhh we cannot wait ! :)

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  11. Hi Brenda,
    We are downsizing with the new place. Only 900 sq. feet for the upstairs of the house. Just perfect for the two of us. I am excited to have a smaller space that I utilize every room and do not have rooms sitting vacant that you hardly use. Been there done that. I find as I get older I need less stuff. So I am excited to downsize and live large in a smaller space.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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  12. Such a timely article Brenda. I downsized and moved a month ago to a senior apartment community. (I am single and 74 years old.) It has an elevator, and interior hallways leading to the units. A couple of years ago I would never have considered such a place, but at this phase of my life it is perfect. I thought I had downsized a great deal, but frankly was alarmed at how much "stuff" I still have. I have a small storage unit here in the building, and it is stuffed. I have another storage closet off my patio and it has quite a lot in it also. I have a large linen closet and it is also full. I now have a washer and dryer and can do laundry whenever I want without going to a laundry facility. (Yay!) And the kitchen is enormous. I have decided that I will live here 6 months, using that time to figure out what is really needed and desired, and then get rid of the rest, as it is only "stuff." The living room is very small, 13' X 12' and that meant I had to sell extra large living and dining room furniture as well as my buffet and hutch, but I no longer do much entertaining, I usually go to one of the kids houses and they host, (less work for me.) I purchased smaller pieces like a loveseat and small chair, and a tiny dining set and I actually find this small space cozy and charming. I can walk down the hall and go to the card room to play with new friends, or take the elevator down one floor and use the fitness center, or down another floor to visit the clubhouse and watch television or enjoy playing bingo on Tuesday nights, or join the occasional buffet party. Everyone here is so friendly and all say they just love living here, many of them moved in 7 years ago as soon as it was finished. The wait list to get in is now 2 years or more. It took me 2 years to get called, and the timing was perfect. must say, this was a very smart move for me, I am loving it here, and am making lots of friends and have many more occasions for social events. I have no maintenance to worry about, and I am able to relax and just enjoy my new phase of life. I do envy you your outdoor space, (so wonderful) as I only have a small balcony patio that barely has room for my little patio table and chairs. I am planning to put some of your great ideas to work to make it a little outdoor paradise this summer. Yes, I highly recommend downsizing to this kind of living, I am very happy.

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  13. We downsized to a 900 sqft home. For me it's still to big. I am a perfect tiny house person. My husband...not so much. We spend the winter months in our 5th wheel in FL and when we come home its like walking into a castle. I takes an hour to clean the 5th wheel, it takes 5 to clean the house. The only thing about leaving this house permantly would be the yard and all the flowers I planted!!

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  14. Seems to me you have found a demographic that is clearly underrepresented. Start writing those articles, Brenda!

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  15. We have no desire to downsize and move right now (we will be 55 & 57 this summer) as this home suits our needs just fine and we both still love doing yard work. The only way we'd move is if we couldn't manage the stairs going into the basement or God forbid, if someday Brian passes before me. I know I couldn't manage this home on my own. I have no desire to live in an apartment or condo. I could probably handle a townhouse though. Anyway, over the past few years I have been chiseling away at all our "stuff" in the basement. I have donated so much! And as you know, right now I'm even going through all my books and getting rid of a lot of those, too.

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  16. Brenda, maybe it's my imagination but it seems as if you really love this home even more than the first blue cottage after you moved? Or is that because you're so much more at peace with your life now than then? I know that makes a huge difference in my life too.

    I especially enjoyed this post after watching a town hall meeting the other night on our local PBS about the problem of housing here in Nashville. I learned so much that I was unaware of. So many older neighborhoods close around downtown have become what is known as gentrified. I knew the term before but didn't understand the meaning exactly. But when person after person got up and said they needed to downsize because of age, they could not, and stay in their long time neighborhood. The host said that gentrification is when you cannot afford to sell your house and buy another in the same neighborhood.

    And it is even harder for renters in Nashville. They sign a lease and fix up the apartment and love the neighborhood and wham, when time to resign a lease they are hit with a $500 to $900 increase in rent. And with 30 days evacuation notice if they don't resign. The purpose being to force people out and free the building and site for developers.

    There were women there who spoke and said they had such fear hanging over them. They could find something affordable but it would be 30 minutes further away from Nashville, and their jobs were in Nashville.

    There were children whose mother had to move in with them because this had already happened to them. It was an eye opener to me as to what is happening today. Very scary.

    As you know, I think, after selling our house and farm to one son, we are now living in a cottage our younger son bought for us to rent from him. After seeing the town hall meeting I realize even more what a precious gift that was for him to do this for us.

    I hope that Nashville will get really serious about trying to solve this problem of where our people are going to go when they're forced out of their homes by gentrification and developers.

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  17. Someone said to downsize before you need to, how true. I am so glad that we moved. There would have been major expensive so in our older bigger home. I agree to be happy where you live. It's crazy to always be wanting something different. But I don't think you have to live in a home without a personality just so it looks uncluttered. You are the Queen of showing us how to love where you live.

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  18. Great post Brenda. I down sized several years ago, and I could get rid of more "stuff". I love living in my little condo. I have a small back yard. I can putter and plant. It has a small patio. I love it, just right for me. I have no desire for a large house. I am so content in my little place. I have a great landlord and let's me do whatever I want. I would like to find a inexpensive gazebo like yours. Thanks again for your insightful posts. I really enjoy your blog. I try to blog, but mine doesn't come near to the quality of yours.

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  19. I've always loved how you've made your apartment your own, full of personality and pops of color. It sounds like it's the perfect setup for you with your patio and the flexibility to customize what you need/want to without the stress of too-high payments. Thank you for sharing. Hope your week is going well! ~julie

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  20. Sometimes I wish I could downsize the yard. Our house isn't all that big, so I'm happy with it so far. The only thing I would change inside is having the laundry upstairs. I do have a very large closet in the bathroom and it's possible we could move the washer and dryer there some day. I do want to start downsizing as far as the content goes. I have way too much stuff. Too many dishes. And, as I get older and realize that I won't be entertaining much or need all this stuff, I am trying to weed out that which I don't need to keep. Nice post!

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  21. Guess what, for me it is all about enjoying our 2600 foot home! Some would consider downsizing to a shoebox. At 74, I feel very fortunate to live here on the edge of the desert, have a library, a country store (bedrooms)a large kitchen & family room a three car garage, large fenced yard, and love my life. Survived the loss of our daughter, raised her two children, survived cancer and lived thru some other losses. It isn't about where you really live it is appreciating what you have. Folks have told me many times I would create a beautiful home in a boxcar. We don't travel, we retired to be together & we have weathered a few storms, but we are thankful and feel blessed. No,we are not wealthy!

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  22. Downsizing is so freeing. We lived in our 24 ft.travel trailer for 10 months when we came to CO and I loved it, so much easier. Had to go to laundry in main bldg., which was expensive but not too bad. Also loved going with hubs when he was a trucker before we moved to CO, living in truck for weeks on end, was fine with me but I tend to be bit of a gypsy. Had the bigger house raised 4 kids in, now want life easier, not harder being tied to housework and yardwork.
    Hubs got tired of living in trailer so he moved out to a house where I moved after a month. Liked life in trailer lot more as we had our own little yard at rv park. Made friends still have after 12 yrs.
    Now we have single wide 3 bdrm. 2 full bath mfg. home on 1/2 acre out in rural area. Wish we could afford to travel some but have wonderful views in quiet area.
    Why people want big house to take care of is beyond me. We can't afford to have house cleaner once in while. Stuff is like anchor around my neck. Want to spend time crafting and sewing, not cleaning.
    Smart girl Brenda, have right idea.Enjoy rest of week

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  23. On two different occasions, I have built and lived in "forever" homes but times and circumstances change. My plain-Jane home was all I could afford and is less than one-third the size of my previous homes. I am frequently told how much others LOVE my "cottage". I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I rescue and re-purpose items. Apartment, cottage, camper, whatever...make it YOURS. Thank you, Brenda. Your blog always encourages me.

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