We’re all paring down to essentials these days.
Tired of clutter, homeowners are finding what possessions they use regularly, and getting rid of the ones they don’t.
This is especially true for seniors who are choosing to move into condominiums where they choose both a lifestyle as well as a new home. Moving to a condo is not really downsizing, it’s right sizing.
“The lifestyle is fabulously attractive for a senior,” comments Charlie Oliver, president of the Canadian Condo Institute. Oliver notes condos give seniors the opportunity to be near activities, hospitals and families. As well, condos are low maintenance and offer a great deal of freedom.
Oliver points out that condos are 40 per cent cheaper than a home of similar quality, size, and location.
Additionally, there is a sense of security in a living environment where there is “controlled access” as well as a resident manager or a superintendent. Unlike a house, a condo can be left unattended for months while the owner travels. A condo owner knows that there is unlikely to be a break-in with neighbours close by.
The likelihood that a senior can manage to live independently and for a longer time is stronger in a condo for these reasons. This is borne out in the results of a 2001 census that shows the percentage of Canadians aged 65 to 74 who owned their own homes is 75.3. This is an increase from 65.8 per cent in 1981.
The percentage of seniors aged 75 and older and who owned their own home was 66.2 in 2001, compared to 57.4 per cent 20 years prior.
Rupen Seoni, VP of Client Services for Environics Analytics, notes that 13 per cent of residents in townhouses and condos are over 60. In fact, Environics Analytics has found that in some neighbourhoods, you will find singles and widows as well as newly married couples and empty-nester retirees “thriving” in the same neighbourhood.
Some adjustments do have to be made by seniors who move to a condo. The one-floor layout of a condominium means there are no stairs to climb so that bathrooms and bedrooms are easily accessible. Additionally, condos often come with recreational facilities and the social activities associated with them. Which brings us to another benefit of condos. Moving from a large house to a condo means that seniors could have a tidy amount to put aside, or money for activities like travel.
Right sizing does entail some thought. The furniture scaled for a larger home may not fit well in a condo, which generally has a square footage of 500 to 1,300. In addition, the resident(s) may require a wheelchair or a walker. These devices require extra space for moving around in a condo, and placement of furniture will have to allow for that.
For seniors considering condos as a housing choice, careful planning will bring a carefree lifestyle — both within and beyond their condominium.
- Canadian Condo Institute: www.cci.ca
- Environics Analytics: www.environicsanalytics.ca
- Investors Group: www.investorsgroup.com/english/insite/life_events/retirement.htm