The perfect home in your older adult years may not be the one you aspired for when you were young…
Life’s journey starts out with big dreams.
Dreams of falling in love, marrying, having a family and securing a home.
Of the dreams, securing a home is definitely the most expensive and the most stressful decision.
You often start out small and may manage one or two more shifts to upgrade in a lifetime.
The sad reality of life is that we really need the big home in our younger days, when raising our children but land up having the big home close to when they fly the nest.
So the cycle of life is having a small home, moving to a medium home and then to the large one with the ultimate choice of going back to small in our older adult years.
In our older years, we tend to want to absolve ourselves of many a responsibility, in fact we would much prefer for someone to run our household allowing us the liberty to do the things we enjoy and none that bring on stress.
You will reach a stage, where you would like to gift your children all those heirlooms, the Baccarat, Lladro, silver tea sets or may be the linen, cutlery, crockery collected over the years.
Before the actual transition, do expect a few back and forth decisions and know that this is absolutely normal and part of the path, especially when you are self-made and your collectables are personal memories.
A few questions to ask yourself when pondering over or choosing your new space are:
What do you really want from your new home?
What will you spend a lot of your time doing from now on?
What do you most value at this point of time in your life?
Your previous homes were designed around what worked aesthetically, the style you like and a lot of living space to keep the peace.
This time around the focus is tuning into your values, orderliness, organization, practicality and above all comfort.
I remember my mum wanting a desk at home once she retired, she was so used to her office desk it became her go-to place to do all her routine work of paying bills, emailing friends or for a game of online solitaire too. She absolutely loved that space and valued her time there.
– While designing your new home, if you have been used to large spaces, you may initially feel cramped, this can be overcome quickly by designing your space with what really inspires you because in all probability this is your last move or renovation. Keep in mind to choose every piece that you will not tire of, something that will sustain and hold good.
Do your homework, look through magazines, surf the Internet, browse through home decor websites for inspiration. Another way is to be observant when you travel or dine at restaurants, most hire skilled architects and designers to use space wisely and out of the box ideas. Work on each room or space individually instead of all together.
– If you are using the Marie Kondo method, get a professional to declutter, choose stand out pieces, tidy up, give you ideas to purge your space.
TIP: Do not let them influence you to go with run of the mill fads. A trap one often falls into.
– No move is ever final for loose furniture.
Keep it to only what you will use, maybe a few things extra, but the rest needs to be shipped out and find a new home. In Mumbai, we are surrounded with slums, charitable institutions donate extras there.
– Look for spots where the furniture would create an impact. Something I have always resonated with is, when you look at furniture, artifacts, they must be placed where it can be seen and admired in a stand alone space and not clubbed with so many articles that you don’t notice it at all.
Less is more.
Where is this piece going to create the biggest impact?
When in doubt, place all furniture in the middle of the room and shift accordingly
– Plants bring in energy of a different kind, just a few on the windowsill to give you a garden effect or one big indoor planter adds life and colour to your space. If you are the kind who is averse to insects, no time or desire to nurture plants, then the next best option is artificial. What ever works, bring it in.
TIP: Reupholster your furniture seasonally; make loose covers so you don’t have to keep spending. Adds a new lease of life, it’s cost effective and sustainable.
– Recycle, reuse, and make second-hand your style.
When I went to set up my daughter for college life in the US, while walking around the area, I witnessed stacks of furniture and miscellaneous items being dumped on the sidewalk by students leaving their rentals. Clearance trucks picked up this hardly used furniture. One day I asked the loaders what they did with all this? I was appalled to know that it is dumped in the middle of the ocean.
Be slow to buy stuff, buy second hand on ebay, Amazon market place, auctions, newspaper ads, or Chor bazaar. You could hit a lottery.
– The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui or in India Vastu, has a lot of connection in the setting up of a space (if you believe in it), it plays an important role in the happiness and mental wellbeing and moods of older adults. Your sleep position, the head should not face North, the main door should face North-East and other elements of room décor to exude positive energy in your home are practiced by many, I know that cheerful decor is vital for older adults, bright and colourful versus sober and dull appeals more. I say the living space should match the personality and preferences of the person living there.
– There is no denying that older adults have less energy and will to maintain their spaces, especially when functional limitations on their movement hit home ground. Clutter does become the norm, as items need to be kept within reach to compensate for mobility issues. There is definitely a method to their clutter madness, what looks like clutter to the layman is an arrangement for personal use, so let it match your persona.
Finally a couple of must do’s when looking for your perfect home.
-Ask to physically see the place, as pictures can be deceptive.
– Inspect for infrastructure pitfalls like cracks, leakage, leveled flooring, infestation.
– Water supply, electrical supply, gas supply.
– Ownership history, how many times has the property changed hands?
– New construction around the area is an indication of noise pollution or blocking of current view.
– Getting a professional inspector to assess would be worth it.
With all this in mind, take the steps to get into the pool, the diving board may not be the best idea when acquiring and setting up your new perfect home.