A recent study validated one of my most recent discoveries about my parents. This study was a continuing education class to help real estate brokers and salespeople understand the needs of our most senior population. Aptly labeled the GI Generation, these adults were born before 1925, noted for being frugal and an innate desire to burn the mortgage. These “motherhood and apple pie” seniors have only three motivating goals for moving which are safety, greater ease in living, or getting closer to their children. And the most revealing statistic was that 75 % still live in single-family detached homes.
Recently, my parents aged 85 and 87 moved from their home outside Nashville, TN, to a retirement community in Sun City Center, FL. The preparation and sale were daunting and complicated by mother’s desire to sell everything and enjoy all the “new” stuff in their “new” place. I worried about her idealism and concerned myself that perhaps after the move and the realization that she had wiped the slate clean and moved to a destination so far from home that things might not be so grand. My fears were realized in short order, as the move, visitors, and all new surroundings began to effect both parents. It has been a year since their move now.
They have settled in to their new surroundings but not without some cost. The emotional stress impacted their health for the first few months. A few scary trips and stays in the hospital pursued, but amazingly they now act and feel years younger. The emotional stress played a major role in their overall health the first year. But, today, as we look back, we realize that the risk has provided them with safety in a gated community, excellent care givers, and conveniences to nearby doctors, stores, and services that are within one mile of their new home. Furthermore, they continue to thrive in their new single-family home without any of the emotional turmoil initiated during the first year.