What makes a house a home? We have all heard this adage from time to time, but at different points in our lives, this question can take on more importance or become more relevant. One of those times is when we reach retirement age—whenever that is or whatever that looks like to you. If you are considering a move to a retirement community, is it possible that it can become a “home” with all that it means to you?

One thing that must be considered is, if you choose to stay in your house, will a situation arise that will require others to step in? This scenario would potentially become a burden on an individual that you love, and often, that’s an adult child. Delays in making decisions may result in a loss of control if someone else must intervene. Things that are important to you now may be ignored, and your wishes for how you live your life can fall by the wayside.

At his recent presentation at Woodlands, Tripp Higgins, President of myLifeSite, shared the biggest concerns of aging adults. According to a study by Merrill Lynch and AgeWave, top concerns are dealing with a serious health problem and fear of being lonely. Both are good motivation for considering a move from your current house and could be alleviated by moving to a community like Woodlands.

Things that keep you from wanting to face leaving your house may become overwhelming. All the memories and all the possessions are among the many things on that list. Dealing with the logistics and business of selling and moving can lead to more concerns. Is it that we think the brick-and-mortar house is the only thing that defines what a home is to us?

Tripp also discussed the many options available if you are considering a move. He emphasized that the key to a successful change is being proactive and not waiting until choices are limited.

So why the struggle for so many?

A term called “liminality” may explain why it is hard to leave your current house, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the size or type of home. It has to do with how we feel. The state of liminality is one where the order of things is suspended. It can be a time of uneasiness because one doesn’t know what to expect or what is expected of them. If you are considering a move to a retirement community, these are feelings that could arise when you contemplate leaving your current house. It’s a time when we are at a threshold between the known and the new unknown. Not the type and size of a potential new residence, but the unknown of what our life will be like in that community. A person may love the space and number of bedrooms in a new residence, but how do we know who we will become within those walls?

Is change possible?

Herein lie the questions. Is change possible? Is change necessary? Are there enough benefits to living in a retirement community that will make me want to push through my comfort zone to make a change.

We all know that change is hard, but sometimes we decide that the change is worth it. One must weigh the pros and cons for themselves to make that decision. People who have said yes to change and moved to a retirement community enjoy the benefits of a robust social life. A Harvard Study of Adult Development found that personal connections are the most important factor in long-term health and happiness. Some would say that if there is one decision that could impact your life for the better, it would be to move to an environment where those connections are possible every day.

The tipping point

Even if you know you want to move, how do you know when the time is right? The struggle is real. The unknown is a real factor in this decision, inhibiting us from being able to clearly evaluate both pros and cons. You’re stuck, and it sure seems easier to walk away rather than invest the brain power to think about a difficult decision. Decision-making can be stressful, and this is an emotional one that adds even more complexity to the process. Taking a step back and reframing a decision is one way a solution can be found. Discussions with loved ones or trusted advisors can be helpful. The decision to leave one’s house is a very personal one, but worth the time and effort to consider it while the choice is still yours to make.

During his presentation, Tripp also reviewed some possible implications of staying in your house. Facing and acknowledging these things, such as ongoing maintenance and potentially becoming a burden to family members, can help bring clarity to your decision-making process.

A home of a different kind

Let’s consider the definition of home. A safe haven and comfort zone, a home gives people a place to care about people. It’s a place to tell stories and make memories. That sounds more like a feeling than a location. A home is a feeling that goes with you and is not tied to bricks and mortar. If you can embrace that idea, leaving your house could be a positive change. A change that is proactive, sure to offer those important relationships, and allows you to truly be yourself. A home can be made just about anywhere and comes in many shapes and sizes. From that point of view, it’s obvious that a home is much more than a house.

So really, if it’s only an address that must change, considering moving might just be a little easier. It’s just a house. The memories can come with you, and your uneasiness about the unknown can be put to bed. Those who have moved forward and are living at Woodlands or a similar community will tell you, “I don’t know what I was waiting for!” Is it time for you to find out for yourself?

Plan to visit soon to see what a home at Woodlands can be.

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