Q Our home no longer suits our needs, but after so many years, the prospect of moving somewhere new is frankly rather daunting. Your view?
A Over the years, I have been called to numerous properties by older clients to talk through what to do for the best. Like you, they have typically lived there for many years and feel very much ‘at home’. This in spite of the obvious need to find more practical accommodation - whether it be as a result of difficulties in managing the stairs, lack of public transport, or whatever.
So ... what to do? This is obviously a very delicate issue, and in addressing it one needs to be as sensitive and diplomatic as possible. Nevertheless, I’m afraid the simple fact is that the status quo simply isn’t tenable in the longer term. You really do need to grasp this particular nettle.
The most important thing is to be decisive. I’m not saying it’s easy, but you need to be unswerving in your resolve to move and be as objective as possible. After all, when all’s said and done, we’re only talking about bricks and mortar. You will still have all your memories.
The next thing you need to deal with is the tons of ‘stuff’ that we all accumulate over the years. You need to be ruthless and get rid of it.
There are plenty of ways of doing so, from car boot sales and charity shops to second-hand bookshops and auction houses - even friends and relatives!
Finally, I often come across older people who want to move – but their friends or family aren’t keen. That’s all very well, if those friends and family can guarantee the long-term care and support that you’re increasingly going to need. But circumstances change, and that support won’t necessarily always be there. Essentially, my advice about moving home in later life is to do so when you are fit and competent enough to handle the task in a positive frame of mind, rather than have it forced upon you. In doing so, of course, you need to be sure that you choose an agent who will genuinely help you right through the whole process. Short of a genuine referral from a trusted friend or family member, it’s best to get three agents around and compare them. Also, if you can, visit their office unannounced to see how they deal with people just walking in. Ultimately, with a good, trustworthy agent on your side, moving home can be a great adventure at any age.