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Is it too late to move house?

30th April 2018

Moving house is an enormous undertaking at any time of life, but as people get older it can seem a mammoth task ahead of them. From finding the next property to packing up their belongings, the task of moving house is stressful. However, there are many reasons may choose to move as they get older. While some people may wish to move into a smaller property that is more manageable and better adapted, others may wish to be closer to friends and family, or some people may see their retirement as the prime time to move to their dream destination now children have left home.

Though older adults may have more time and freedom when it comes to finding a property and choosing a location, there are other problems they face, especially if they struggle with limited mobility. Moving is physical, even if you hire professional movers and cleaners, actually packing up your belongings, making trips to charity shops or the local tip and even visiting potential properties can be strenuous. This often puts older adults off their final housing purchase.


What to consider before moving 

Outlining the initial reasons for moving will help people to ensure they meet their objectives. The last thing that people want is to make a move and realise the house or location doesn’t suit their needs and they have to move again. This is especially important for people who wish to do work on their forever home. While a property may not be perfect, expecting to do a lot of building work and renovations can be ambitious. Pamela Miller from the blog Life With Munchers had her own experience of renovations not going to plan:

“My tip would have to be to factor in a realistic timeline and costs of any work that you would like done.  We’ve been caught out in the past telling ourselves it’s our “forever” home, but then living in frustration at our lack of patience. It’s so easy to get swept along, but years can turn into decades and that’s money that could have been spent on family holidays, or time spent on days out instead of DIY.”

People move for many reasons and some of these are detailed below as long as what to watch out for:

For mobility issues

If someone is planning for their future or looking to accommodate their current mobility needs ensuring their next home is adapted is paramount. Checking whether the new house has stair lifts installed, wider doors and spacious rooms may mean people are able to retain their independence and stay in their own homes for longer. Checking the size of the garden and if they are able to maintain it is also important.

For people unable to drive, checking the local transport links is a must. Being within a short walk of bus stops and train stations as well as having easy access to supermarkets and amenities will make sure your final home is appropriate for your needs. Faith from the blog Much More with Less spoke about her own move to the country and what challenges people face:

“Definitely age-related issues when moving, like trying to find a property within walking distance of shops and amenities if you might not want to drive so much when older, or being realistic about whether a rickety staircase will suit later life.”

For health concerns

As people get older they can find themselves more reliant on the medical profession and whether they need to regularly pick up prescriptions or maintain frequent visits to specialist centres, people may find themselves moving to be closer to these services. Better links to the local hospital or being within walking distance to the pharmacy may make an unexpected difference to everyday life.

For proximity to family

Some people feel they want to spend more time with grandchildren or strolling distance to their siblings. If this is the case, talking to the family in question is very important, just in case they have any plan to relocate in the near future. It is also key to discuss ground rules as many grandparents can feel taken advantage of when it comes to childcare.

For a smaller property

What was once a full family home often empties out to an unmanageable house once children have grown up. These can become expensive to run, difficult to clean and overall unnecessary to maintain. For those looking to downsize, there are lots to consider including the ideal size of property and garden, whether this would include a spare room for guests and how much room they would need for their possessions? This is often a great time to have a declutter and prune the extra things people accumulate over a lifetime.



Everyone has a different approach to packing up their house and while some people may opt for a carefully organised checklist, other people will find themselves in the last minute scramble. Approaching packing as an opportunity to reorganise possessions and ease into a new life means people will more likely to be efficient and organised, as well as being honest about what they do and don’t need.

Be realistic

This starts with knowing how big the next property is, how much storage is available and how much of the stuff people own is regularly used. Sorting items into useful and sentimental is a helpful way of seeing what fits into neither of these categories and therefore needs an alternative plan. It is also the perfect time to return possessions while owning a large house with lots of stuff, often family members are keen to store childhood toys and other unused items, by giving these back people can free up a lot of space. 

Be organised

Everybody has that drawer that defies tidying or classifying. Taking the time to organise before you move actually sorts the problem, the same applies to CDs and DVDs in the wrong cases, clothes from a different season that need sorting and the musical instruments that haven’t been played in years. It is often hard enough to find things people need when they have just moved house, so being organised when packing makes it much easier.

Talk to family members

This can be about returning possessions that people have stored or seeing if they want any larger furniture that may not fit in the new home. Things passed down through the family are often treasured and family members may be upset to see their favourite dresser go when they would have happily housed it. 

Once you've moved, take a look at this helpful guide to household hacks for older people.

Image Credit: Nathan O’Nions

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.