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Expert tips for enjoying life after 50

A suitable place to live during your Prime Time

My point of departure is that your Prime Time years should ideally be your happiest and most fulfilling years of your life. The choice of where you are going to live has a big influence on this.

The place where you are going to live should be convenient and safe. Make sure that you obtain all the relevant information about the area and about the place in which you intend living. Start well in time.

Make sure that you choose a place that you can afford. Usually, as you grow older, you scale down and you move to a smaller, more modest, place. It must fit your budget. Here is some factors to consider:

  • Location

Here you should consider aspects such as distance from your supermarket, the library, your friends, the hospital, and the chemist. It is a lot easier and healthier, to walk to these places and to have to drive everywhere. Ideally you should live in a pleasant and safe environment.

To move from your current home to the home where you are going to live the rest of your life can be very traumatic.

Easy access to your friends and family members is indeed important. Your privacy is also important that you certainly don’t want to be lonely during your old age.

  •  Security (especially when you are not home)

Ideally a ‘lock up and go’ place that will be safe while you are away would be the best solution.

  • Hobbies

You would still want to have access to your favourite hobbies after you have retired. Ensure that there is ample space and opportunity for recreational activities.

  • Pets

Pets can be a nuisance when you want to travel, but many people are very dependent on the company of pets. Not all complexes have the same rules regarding pets – something to check out.

  • Furniture

It is important to plan and check out the extent to which your current furniture will fit into your new place occupation. It may not be a bad idea to get rid of some of your furniture even though you may have sentimental value to them. Try not to be a slave of your possessions.

  • Conveniences and amenities in your new house

Ensure that you have easy access to a washing machine, microwave oven, heating, cooling, TV,  AND access to internet!

Options for choosing a suitable place to live

  • To stay on in your current place, at least for some time
  • A retirement complex – this is usually expensive but has certain unique advantages and disadvantages
  • To move in with children – this has unique advantages such as saving money, but it also has risks and should be carefully considered
  • An old age home with frail care – this usually only becomes an option towards the end of your life

A note on moving in with children:
This can have unique advantages but there are also many potential pitfalls, especially if it is not approached sensibly. The most important prerequisite is that a good relationship must be maintained. That means among other things ongoing open communication.

The main advantage of such an arrangement, is usually that the parents enjoy a relatively cheap place to stay (ideally a granny flat) and the children have somebody responsible staying in their house when they are away and also somebody who can look after the children although this should also not be taken for granted but discussed openly. Expectations should be discussed and managed sensibly.

It is usually desirable to have a meeting and an open discussion specifically for this purpose well before the parents move in. Each party can be invited to come to the meeting with a well prepared agenda. Things such as the length and term of the arrangement, (e.g. what happens if the child moves to another location for its work) should all be discussed. Such an arrangement should not be entered into blindly assuming that everything will be just fine.

Parents usually don’t want to lose their independence during their old age. This need must be respected and accommodated. Parents may want to maintain their friendships and hobbies. There mustn’t be unnecessarily interference in each other’s lives. It is better to discuss all these things in advance and not to wait for it to develop into a problem.

Once again, it is essential that a good relationship will be maintained. Nobody wants to experience unnecessary stress in their lives at that stage, especially not at your old age.

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