Age In Place or Downsize?

Sage Aging Podcast Episode 63

A Big Decision

Most older adults will tell you they want to age in place. I think most of us envision enjoying our retirement in the home we spent so many years making just right, and in the neighborhood and community where we built friendships and relationships. It’s the obvious choice to age in place, right?

Not so fast. Sometimes as we age circumstances change, and that requires us to reconsider how and where we choose to spend the later years of our lives. That, my friends, is our topic for this episode of the Sage Aging Podcast. Should you or your loved one age in place or downsize to a smaller home or senior living community? In this episode, I was joined by Jared Weggeland of Focus Realty Group (connect with Jared in the links section on this page). We approached the topic from the physical home perspective, but let’s broaden the scope for a moment.

*Click the player above to listen to this episode or find the transcript at the bottom of the page.

Aging in Place?

We’ve all heard this phrase, but what does it mean? Basically, it means living out your years in your own home as safely, independently, and comfortably as possible. But how is this accomplished? Well, that may look different for everyone, but here are a few key things to consider if you or your loved one plan to stay home as you age:

  • Do you need assistance with activities of daily living?
  • If you no longer drive, do you have access to reliable transportation?
  • Do you need assistance with chores and home maintenance?
  • Are home modifications necessary to make the home safe? (download our Home Safety Checklist)
  • Do you need assistance with money management or healthcare and medication management?
  • Are you concerned about getting the proper nutrition?
  • Is someone available and close by in case of emergency?
  • Are you financially able to remain home with the services you require?
  • Will social isolation be a problem?

The presence of any of the listed concerns does not mean you can’t remain home safely. It does mean you will need to put the right help in place to ensure your safety and well-being. Most communities have assistance programs like medical transportation and meal delivery. But getting the additional help you need will likely come at a cost. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what is available in your community. (in Polk, contact the Senior Connection Center).


People decide to downsize for lots of reasons. Some downsize because a larger home may be too expensive, difficult to maintain, full of clutter, or too far away from loved ones. Alternatively, some choose to downsize because they desire a different lifestyle than they are currently living, opting for an environment that is more socially engaging. Whatever the reason, here are a few key things to consider when you’ve decided it’s time to make a move:

  • Where will you downsize to? A smaller home, senior living community, move in with family? (Listen to episode 61 for a detailed overview of senior living options)
  • Assistance with ADLs – do you need assistance with activities of daily living?
  • Budget – do your wants meet your budget?
  • Geographic Location – do you want to locate closer to loved ones?
  • Accessibility – when choosing a new home, look for design elements or make renovations that will allow for long term physical needs
  • Assisted living – assisted living communities are a great option for those who need a little extra help and/or want a social environment. If assisted living interests you, consider utilizing the services of a senior placement specialist. They can help navigate the gathering of information and comparison of options. Services are generally free.

No Wrong Answer

There is a lot to consider when evaluating whether to age in place or downsize to a smaller home, or senior living community. The good news is that there is no wrong answer. Pre-planning financially will certainly afford you more choices, but with the wide range of living and care options available, almost any situation is possible. Communication is key. Engage your loved ones in the process for the most successful life transitions.

Links We Mentioned

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Liz Craven
Author: Liz Craven

Liz Craven, along with her husband Wes, owns Pro-Ad Media, publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, serving the local community for over 29 years. Liz lives in Lakeland and is very active in the local community, specifically in the area of aging. Liz serves on a number of local boards and committees including the Lakeland Vision and Age Friendly Lakeland.