LIVING IN WISCONSIN brings excitement and anticipation with changing seasons — vibrant colors on the trees in the fall, long sunny days during the summer months, fresh fallen snow and ice on the trees during the winter, and budding flowers each spring. But the change in seasons also brings thoughts of yardwork: shoveling, gardening and keeping up a house that may seem more overwhelming each year. Many seniors find themselves torn between keeping their home with all the fond memories and the practical need for downsizing to something smaller — and the thought of change is scary.
For seniors who are still independent and caring for themselves, assisted living may not be the next logical step. There is another option to consider. Independent living is all about a lifestyle that offers social opportunities and a sense of community without the hassles of upkeep that come with owning a home. The words “independent living” describe a range of options from simple apartment living in a 55+ community to an apartment complex with services and amenities such as meals and activities — sometimes even transportation — offered daily. Seniors can choose a community that fits their needs and has all the features and amenities they want at this point in their lives.
Even after the decision has been made to make a move, mixed emotions, doubt and even second thoughts may linger. Is this really the right time? What about the memories of happy years in the house? Listening close, there are still sounds of laughter and familiar voices from times gone by. This is a natural reaction, and by embracing it rather than avoiding the conversation, families can find great joy in this process of preparing to make another important, exciting life change.
At this point, it is important to reminisce and remember the good times in the home. Pull out the old photos and go through the carefully packed boxes tucked in the attic for safekeeping. No doubt, there will be laughter and tears! Seniors, friends and families alike realize the memories will always be with them — in their hearts and in their thoughts.
Feeling alone in the decision-making process is hard. But as with all milestones in life, others have experienced similar feelings. And for most seniors who make independent living their home, there is one piece of advice that is shared over and over: “I wish I had made the move sooner.”
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