Choosing a senior living community to spend your retirement years is a very exciting decision. Choosing the right floor plan for your new lifestyle is exciting, too – but it also can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re going from a big house to a much smaller space like a cottage home or apartment.
“No matter how big or small your current home is, you probably have a lot of stuff – more than you expect,” says Jayne Sallerson, Chief Operating Officer and President of Charter Senior Living. “When you’re looking at floor plan options for your new home, it can be tempting to automatically go for the biggest space possible. However, how much space will you really need to live life to the fullest?”
Jayne says that, just like you did when you bought your current home, it’s important to weigh your needs and wants for your new living space. “For example, you may absolutely need a two-bedroom home because you or your partner are going to continue doing consulting or freelance work, and you need a dedicated office space,” says Jayne. “On the other hand, you may decide that although painting is one of your passions, you don’t necessarily need a dedicated space in your home because the senior living community has an art studio where you can keep your things.”
Jayne says that thinking about what you actually need from your new living space will be an excellent way to set yourself up for senior living success. “At first glance, your new living space may seem distressingly tiny compared to your current home,” Jayne explains. “However, it’s important to look beyond your private living space and see what you’re gaining by living in the community campus. For example, you’ll have different dining options, an on-site fitness center, common spaces and more. When you look at all that, you probably are gaining more space and accessibility than you ever had before.”
If you’re getting ready to move into senior living and are wondering how to choose a floor plan that fits your needs and lifestyle, here are some points to consider:
How much space do you really need?
To answer this question, it may help for you to spend several days noting your traffic pattern throughout your house. Spending a chunk of time noticing what rooms you really use can help you think about how much space you need – or conversely, how much space you don’t need. A Wall Street Journal study tracked the traffic patterns of a sampling of families and discovered that most people are only using a fraction of their current living space, and that’s probably the same case for you. (How often do you use your formal dining room, for example?)
As you’re studying your traffic patterns, also think about how you could “combine” different rooms into a smaller space. For example, a second bedroom could double as a guest room and as a workspace. You will also want to think about how much entertaining or socialization you’ll be holding in your private space. Do you frequently have out-of-town guests who spend the night? Do you like throwing little parties with close friends? Remember, there may be living options on the senior living community campus that could allow you to continue to do those things without having the expense of a larger floor plan.
What do you need to make a home “yours”?
We all have items in our home that are important to us, whether that’s an heirloom piece of furniture, favorite artwork or a set of cooking knives. Take some time to think about the pieces you absolutely, definitely must have in your new home. Although designing your new living space about what “stuff” you want to bring is not always the greatest idea, you do want to make sure that the items that are important to you have a space (in your heart and home).
How much storage do you need?
Even if you’re not planning on bringing a lot of things with you to your new home, storage space is an essential part of life. Closets, cupboards, furniture that doubles as storage, under-bed storage – all these things are essential if you have limited space but still have items that need to be stored. Be sure to look at what storage options are available in different floor plans and determine whether the space is adequate or you’ll need to come up with some creative solutions to fit everything you need in your new place.
Will you be living solo or with a partner?
A single person generally requires less space overall than a couple. If you and a loved one will be moving together, you may want to look at larger floor plans that give you both private space. You certainly don’t want to choose a floor plan that will have you feeling like you’re basically living on top of each other. At the same time, remember you will have a whole community to explore and spend time in – so you don’t necessarily need a huge space, just a big enough space.
What’s available on the campus itself?
After you’ve taken a look at the wants and needs for your senior living floor plan, you can take a look at the things you won’t need now that you’ve moved to a community. For example, you won’t need to store a lawn mower and other yard tools because you’re moving to a maintenance-free community where all that is taken care of for you. You won’t need to haul your treadmill along with you because the community will have a fitness center for residents. And you won’t need a restaurant-sized kitchen because you’ll have dining options on campus (in fact, you may never need to prepare meals, cook or clean up ever again).
“Choosing the right floor plan, whether you’re in Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care, plays an important role in your health and happiness moving forward,” says Jayne. “Our Charter Senior Living communities offer a variety of floor plans to help our residents live their best retirement lifestyle possible, and we’re always available to help future residents talk through their options.”
Your Journey. Your Way.
Based in Naperville, Illinois, Charter Senior Living is a caring and compassionate leader within the senior living industry. Whether it’s a new development, expansion, or repositioning of an existing community, Charter specializes in the growth of senior living communities with the depth and breadth of experience to handle the everyday details and nuances of developing, building, and growing occupancy to capacity of a senior living community. Charter owns, develops and manages more than 47 senior living communities, offering Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care services. A family-owned business with an executive team that has more than 100 combined years of experience in the senior housing industry, Charter Senior Living’s mission is “to enhance the human spirit” of residents, families and employees while serving with heart, purpose and courage – and to have fun while serving.