Downsize your life, not your lifestyle

Thinking of downsizing?

More aging Americans are. The main reason: Simplicity. The home where they raised a family has more space than they need now, and caring for it has become a burden – both in time and money. Plus there’s another consideration: With a move, they have the opportunity to create a new life in a new space.

That’s why Rudy Smith, a Smith Village resident since 2020, sold his house. “My wife of 46 years passed in 2016 and it had gotten to the point where I could not maneuver very well up and down the stairs to shower or use the stairs to the porch,” he says.  “One day my daughter said, ‘Dad, it’s time to move.’ And every day now I tell my daughter, ‘Thank you for helping me move to Smith Village.’”

It’s better to downsize now rather than later.

“Moving is hard at any age,” says Dr. Rodney Harrell, Vice President of Family, Home, and Community at AARP, “and it only becomes more difficult as we grow older.” When you’re independent, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the lifestyle benefits that downsizing can offer, such as lower living costs, less house-related work, and a fresh way of living with more amenities and services.

“If I had to do it again, I’d have done it a little sooner,” says Marge Henry

“Because I’m having fun here. I feel like myself again.”

You’ve downsized your space. Is that enough? 

Simply moving to a smaller house or condo may reduce your expenses (though often not as much as people expect), but may not deliver on your lifestyle expectations. For example, new friendships may be harder to make than anticipated.

Another consideration would be location. It could become more difficult to get around town, especially if you have mobility issues or stop driving.

“A lot of people make the mistake of focusing [on the space] and not location,” says Dr. Harrell. “Where your new home is located can make a big difference for your health and well-being.” When you’re considering downsizing options, ask yourself, ‘Will my new neighborhood be walkable and accessible to community services and amenities? Will it encourage social interaction and enhance my independence?’

A senior woman and her daughter and grandchildren get ice creamSmith Village offers a prime location in the heart of Chicago’s Southside Beverly neighborhood. That is especially important to residents like Leslie Rokaitis, who moved to Smith Village in 2017.

“Most of my family and friends are from the Southside, and I’m from the Southside, and so are most of the activities I’m involved in. I think when you’re older, you should be around people with similar backgrounds and interests,” she says.

Having access to Chicago’s exciting cultural offerings was essential to Robert Hollins, a retired professor of chemistry at Chicago State University. “I’ve made several good friends here, and we go on activities, such as local events and downtown Chicago – the symphony, opera and museums.”     

Seniors are served cocktails at the bar at Smith VillageThis is an opportunity to upsize your life

A not-for-profit Life Plan Community, like Smith Village, allows seniors to downsize to a more manageable space and, at the same time, enjoy a social and wellness-based lifestyle – with life-enriching amenities and services right outside their door.

“I tell people that while your apartment may be smaller than your previous home, our restaurant, pub, theater, gym, meeting spaces and patio are also part of your home,” says Smith Senior Living Sales Director Anthony Herring. “So, you’re not just living in your apartment – you have a lot more space outside to live in.”

And for many seniors, a Life Plan Community may also be comparable in cost to the home they’re currently living in. It was for Smith Village resident Peter Martinez. “I had lived in a house in Hyde Park on the lakefront – it was a four-story townhouse…Smith Village was very competitive, financially.”

Ensure you’ll be secure for the future

Two of the biggest expenses that can hurt a retiree’s budget and lifestyle are healthcare and long-term care expenses. Will you still be able to afford to live where you are if you have health challenges? Although a Life Plan Community has higher up-front costs than a rental community, it can actually be more cost-effective in the long run because residents have lifetime access to onsite assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation.

“I started looking around at various senior living communities,” says Ms. Rokaitis. “Then I narrowed it down to [Life Plan] communities because of the continuum of care. If something happened, my family wouldn’t be rushing around looking for another place for me to live.”

“With a Life Plan Community, you pay an entrance fee for your life care plus a monthly fee, which covers everything from your residence, housekeeping, meals, utilities, activities, amenities and services,” says Mr. Herring. “But you can get a large percentage of that entrance fee back when you leave the community. So you’re taking care of your living costs and care needs while preserving your assets for the future. You won’t find that combination anywhere else.”

Could a Life Plan Community be the best downsizing solution for you?

Call Smith Village today, and schedule a personalized tour. You’ll also learn about our Trial Stay Program, which allows you to experience Smith Village for 90 days without any obligation.