Mary was 68 when her husband died. They lived in a large house in the Welsh countryside, but she later downsized to a bungalow in a nearby town, and she planned the move very thoroughly.
"After a year I felt that there was no point having a large house to maintain when I didn’t need it, and which was expensive to heat and run. My son lives nearby and at one point he and his family were going to move into the house and I was going to live with them in an extension. It became clear that this wouldn’t be the right thing for us – but it was important that we discussed it.
I thought I’d rather be somewhere where I didn’t have to get in the car for absolutely everything and I wanted to be in a town within easy reach of the shops. I also felt it would be nicer to get to know more people locally. Another thing was that the garden was very large and took a lot of work, including coping with machinery. I didn’t want to employ people to do that – I’m quite self-sufficient by nature!
I drove round the locality, looking at all the possible estates within easy distance of the town and when I turned in to this road, it just had a good feeling about it. My daughter came and she said, ‘This is really nice.’
Making the most of space
I decided to be totally realistic and only take furniture and possessions that would comfortably fit into the new house. I was lucky because I didn’t sell anything – that would have been quite hard as some things do have emotional connections. I took photographs of everything, sent them to my family and said, ‘Right, you can decide what you want.’ That meant they could say if they didn’t like something without offending me!
"I made scale bits of furniture on paper and placed them all round the rooms on my plan to make sure they would fit."
I then got out my graph paper and drew a plan of the new house. I made scale bits of furniture and placed them all round the rooms to make sure they would fit. I was also lucky because I was able to decorate right through and put in a new kitchen and bathroom before I moved in.
I got a quote from two or three removals people and I let them do all the packing. But I did sort out boxes of things that would be needed on the day I arrived. My daughter came down for a week and she was here before and after the move, which was brilliant. So because the place was newly decorated and with the new carpets down, and because of the plan, I was able to just direct the removals workmen about what should go where. It was all extraordinarily civilised!
It was definitely the right decision. I’m in a bungalow in a pleasant, quiet location close to absolutely everything, including very good shops, my doctor, dentist, the optician, the physiotherapist and the community centre – all within five minutes’ walk. It all worked out incredibly well."
- Benefits and allowances for the elderly: find out if your relative is eligible for help with the cost of living.
- Home care and support services: explains the options available to help your relative live independently for longer.
- Organising a move into a smaller property: practical advice for a stress-free move.
Page last reviewed: January 2016
Next review due: February 2018