Why older people are so reluctant to downsize

Blog posted

20th August 2013

It’s understandable that as people get older, remaining in the family home becomes a natural expectation. The thought of downsizing isn’t such an attractive option – even the word itself sounds negative.

A recent poll by YouGov found that of the 445 retired people interviewed, only 16% expected to move to a home with fewer bedrooms by the end of 2017. 

There is a lack of high quality retirement-focused property available across the UK which means opportunities to move to something smaller, more suitable, and in exactly the right location, is probably a very tall ask and a near impossibility.

Compounding this are perceptions of old age. Attitudes to what constitutes ‘old’ are changing almost constantly. If old age is still a long way off in many retirees’ eyes then the need to move to something smaller and more manageable will not even be on their radar yet.

Downsizing is an interesting concept that people will consider at differing stages of their life, depending upon their individual circumstances. In later life, I would argue that the negative reasons surrounding this are far outweighed by the positives.

Having spoken to literally hundreds of retirees over the last decade, nearly all who have downsized, I have some understanding of the emotional value of making this transition.

From listening to their thoughts and feedback I’ve gathered the top 10 reasons to downsize here, most of which will be the obvious ones, but there are one or two reasons here that aren’t automatically what you would expect but which have come to light following the move. I hope these are helpful to anyone considering downsizing now or sometime in the future:

– Less financial burdens
– Not so much housework
– Far fewer repairs and maintenance to do in the home
– No need to spend so many hours gardening
– The property feels more manageable and therefore more secure
– Content knowing there’s no more need to move again
– A great cleansing exercise – a chance to clear out so much clutter
– A chance to have nearly all new furniture and pictures!
– Peace of mind of feeling in complete control of the house and everything
– Regrets at not doing it even sooner

Sarah Burgess