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The Upside of Downsizing: Your Senior Living Master Plan

Are you getting ready to retire – or maybe you’ve been done working for many years? Have you been thinking about the adventures you want to take or the new hobbies and activities you’d like to pick up? If so, you’re not alone. Senior living has transformed from the idea of a place you go to “retire” to a place that’s filled with possibilities for the future … a place where seniors are excited to move!

“These days, senior living is a chance to downsize living space – including the responsibilities that come with it like chores and maintenance – and upsize your lifestyle with opportunities, dynamic activities and so much more,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. “If you’re retired and have been thinking about your next steps, a move to a senior living community like Waterstone at Wellesley is a smart plan for the future. And it’s never too early to start making plans and taking steps toward your ideal retirement lifestyle.”


For seniors who are getting ready to make the move, here are some steps to follow as you create your ‘Senior Living Master Plan’.

Decide where you plan to go. Before you start making any downsizing decisions with regards to your stuff, make a plan for where you’d like to move. Are you looking for senior living community that offers a plan for future care needs? Where would you like to be located – near family, or in a destination you’ve always wanted to live? While you certainly can begin downsizing your stuff before you decide where to go, figuring out your ultimate destination will make it a little easier to plan your next steps. It’s a little bit like buying a new house – it’s good to see your new space before determining what you’ll need (or not)!

Decide how much space you actually need. Senior living communities come in all shapes and sizes, and so do senior living floor plans. Some communities offer standalone homes with one, two or even three bedrooms. Others offer spacious apartment living. It all depends on your needs and what you’re looking for. Once you’ve narrowed down where you’re going to live, figure out what floor plan works best for your lifestyle (as well as the dimensions for your new space). Then, once you’ve got that in hand, you’re ready to truly start downsizing.

Figure out a timeline. It’s always good to have some sort of timeline – and deadline – on the calendar when you tackle a big project like downsizing. Even if you don’t have any big plans to move just yet, it’s good to have a general idea of “when” you’d like to have things done. For example, make the end of the year your deadline to get rid of the old so you can get on with the new. Deadlines and timelines help you hold yourself accountable so you actually get things done instead of always pushing it to the back burner.

Go through your house and make a list of everything you need. This is where it’s good to have an idea of where and what space you’ll be moving to – but even if you don’t have that figured out, this can be a great exercise to help you clear out clutter. Go through each room (we suggest starting with a room that doesn’t hold a lot of sentimental value, like a linen closet or the garage) and determine what, if anything, are items you absolutely can’t live without. Write those down and keep that note to the side – you’ll need it later.

Start decluttering. This is where the fun really begins. Again, start small – and realize that this isn’t a job that you can get done in a weekend. You will probably want to break the process up into different chunks with their own specific deadlines. For example, perhaps you’d like to get through your office and the living room before Labor Day. Whatever works for you.

In each room, you’ll want to go through each and every item and place it (physically or mentally) into one of three piles: Keep, Give Away and Trash/Donate. With every item, ask yourself if it’s really something you can’t live without, or is it something that would be okay to let go. Be decisive and listen to your gut. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and come back to that room later. You can also always do another sweep through at a later date if you feel you aren’t being decisive enough.

Include the family in the process. Although it can be hard to give up some personal belongings, your children and grandchildren may have special items that have meaning to them. In that case, this is a great opportunity to pass those items to them so they can enjoy them while you’re around. Consider inviting family to help you declutter, or create an online collection of photos for things you aren’t planning on taking. You may be surprised as to what people are drawn to.

Think about everything you’ll be gaining by downsizing. Downsizing from a family home can bring up a lot of memories – some sad, some happy – but all sentimental. Allow yourself to feel those feelings, but also take time to remind yourself of everything you’ll be gaining by letting things go.

“Think about all the freedom you’ll have when you move from your large home into a smaller, maintenance-free community,” says Kristine. “You’re saying goodbye to things like home maintenance, housekeeping, landscaping – even grocery shopping and cooking if that’s something you want to give up. You’re also gaining a whole new community of friends who are in the same stage of life as you and who are excited about everything their senior years have to offer. And you’re gaining so much time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, like travel, pick up new hobbies, meet new people, and so much more.”

For more information about creating your ‘Senior Living Master Plan’ and upsizing your lifestyle with a move to senior living, please contact our Senior Advisor at 781.591.7113.


Beautiful Riverfront Community

Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.

 Dynamic Senior Living

Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.

 Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors.

Confidence of Care

The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone.

For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.591.7113.