Although your life in retirement should be easy enough in the early years, things often get more complicated as you get older. And for some, the decline in health that comes with old age can mean making some diffciult decisions about where to live when home becomes too big to manage.


 A woman sitting in an armchair drinking from a mug


It’s home, but it’s all getting a bit much…

If that’s how you feel at the moment, don’t worry, you’re not alone. As you get older, looking after your house can become a struggle: it feels like there’s more to do, more house to clean, the stairs feel steeper… Even simple things like opening and closing windows for some fresh air may become difficult.

Because these changes happen gradually, it may suddenly creep up on you -  the feeling that you can’t cope living at home any more. However, that doesn’t mean you have to move out straight away.

What are my options?

The first thing to do, apart from realising that you’re not alone in feeling like this, is to talk to your family and your friends about how you’re feeling.

You may be surprised to find the solution is right in front of you - family may already have suggestions as to how to cope with a large house. That may mean more contact with your family, or even having someone visit you once a week or so to give you a hand.

Of course it doesn’t have to be just once a week. One option is actually to take in a lodger if you have the space, and then use that income to pay for a little more help day-to-day. Over time though, naturally you may want to consider moving home. However, we know that when you’ve lived in one place for most of your life or even just for a long period of time, you do build up emotional ties to that home.

If your health is failing, the idea of moving to somewhere you don’t know very well may be daunting. Again, we recommend talking to family and friends who will help you come to terms with what the practical options are.

Who knows, your children may be more than happy to invite you to live with them if they have enough room. It is not unheard of for children to move closer to their parents or even to consider bringing two homes together - selling two properties and starting again in one as a larger family.

I’m not sure about moving at all…

Moving house may be the only practical option. If you have a large garden, for example, that well-being you feel by spending time outside may be eroded by the impact that physical activity has on you. That doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening!

How can I move? Where can I move to?

It could just be about downsizing - moving to a slightly smaller property. Or you may want to reflect on the opportunity to look at retirement homes, retirement communities, or residential care full-time in later life.You might not have to move at all, but if you do need more support as you get older then there are some very good options available – and hopefully you’ll be in a position to make informed decisions about them so that your fears can be allayed in advance.

In every case though, try to find the confidence to share your concerns so that they don’t mount up and cause bigger problems for you (and perhaps for your family) at a later date.  

What about if I want to stay at home?

You may feel very attached to your home and be nervous of moving somewhere else that you don’t know. If you are able to pay for home care then that may be an option – depending on your medical needs of course – but don’t worry if the options being offered to you involve staying somewhere else for a period of time. You can usually try a stay at a care home or residential home before you make a decision about longer term arrangements.

What if I don’t want to go into a care home?

Unfortunately, your health needs may change as you get older and it might be necessary for you to live in a nursing home. It can be an incredibly hard decision for you to make and even worse if you feel it has been made for you, but do try not to worry. Care homes have improved greatly over the years and can give you the support you need to live as full a life as possible. Find out more about how long-term care is funded.

How will I cope?

Do start by talking to your family, your friends and medical professionals if they’re helping you to make these decisions. Tell them about your concerns – even if they seem trivial. They may not be and you may find unexpected support, reassurance and information that will help you be more comfortable about your decisions and feel more confident about the future.