Whether you or your relative are downsizing to a retirement village, sheltered accommodation or to a smaller home, thinking about the new surroundings is crucial.

On this page you can find a variety of checklists that can help you make sure you and your relative are making the best choice for them. The checklists offer a series of questions you should consider when making decisions, relating to

1. Getting around
2. Enjoying the area
3. Feeling safe
4. Potential challenges of downsizing
5. Downloadable checklist

Getting around

  • Is there good public transport in the new area, and is it easily accessible? For example, is there a main route bus stop within easy walking distance of the new home?
  • Can friends and family easily get to the area?
  • Are there good shops nearby? A library? A café?
  • How far away is the nearest doctor’s surgery (GP)?
  • What are the parking facilities like? Is there off-street parking or unrestricted parking on the street for visitors, even if your relative does not drive?
  • See also What are the alternatives to driving? and Dealing with poor mobility.

Enjoying the area

  • Are there other people of a similar age on the street or in the immediate neighbourhood?
  • Does the area generally seem quiet and peaceful?
  • Are there activities and classes for older people in the local area that match your relative’s particular interests?
  • Are there any plans for major changes or developments, such as building works, in the area?
  • Does the local council have a good reputation in general for delivering services, such as rubbish collection, in the area? And for services specific to older people?
  • Do any charities or social businesses providing services to older people operate in the area?

Feeling safe

  • Does the area feel safe? What are the local crime statistics?
  • Is the building well-secured? Are there suitable locks on all the external doors and windows? Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Is the property fitted with a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector?

Potential challenges of downsizing

  • A smaller home means having less space. While this can be an advantage, it is useful to think ahead about how much space your relative might need for hobbies and accommodating family or visitors, for example.
  • Similarly, if your relative is moving from an older property with large rooms and a garden, they might find a new flat very cramped. Make sure they are happy with the new building, and can see themselves living there for a number of years.
  • Older people may find it less easy to settle into a new area and to make new friends.
  • Anyone who has lived in their home for a long period of time may have developed an attachment to it. Happy memories are often associated with a particular place, making it harder to move on.

Downloadable checklist

Use the link below to download our checklist to help make the right move.

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 January 2016
Next review due: 30 September 2017