How Do I Decide Whether to Move to an Independent Living Apartment?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What do I do if I need to move to an independent living apartment from my large house. I can no longer take care of it on my own? My brother doesn't agree I should move because he believes I can take care of the house myself and I shouldn't "short change" myself. I know what I need and he is thousands of miles away from me.

Expert Answer

Nan Hayes is founder of, the national resource network of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists for seniors, and President of RightSized Living, a senior home transition service in Illinois.

You know better than anyone else what lifestyle will suit you best in the years to come. Deciding to move to an independent living apartment is not short changing yourself and in many ways can be very rewarding. Many older adults abandon the overwhelming burden of home maintenance and move to more efficient apartments, condos or community settings. Today's independent living communities offer both personal enrichment and a more relaxing lifestyle. New friends, community activities, transportation, meal plans and housekeeping arrangements may all be available through communities in your area. The choice is yours. Here are a few things to consider:

Cost - include everything you spend on your home, such as mortgage, insurance, taxes and repairs/maintenance when you compare the cost of a your home to the cost of a new place.

Location - carefully consider proximity to services, friends, family and your preferred climate when making a choice.

Health"”We can't anticipate what will happen down the road, but be sure to take all your current medical issues into consideration before choosing between wholly independent communities and those that offer different levels of care,Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRC's.

Home sale"”use a licensed Senior Real Estate Specialist who can understand your needs and can help with your sale in today's market.

Downsizing"”it can be challenging to let go of a lifetime's possessions, so create a space plan and take only those things that you absolutely need or love. Consider the support of a Certified professional to help with move management,estate sale and other services.