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moving-boxesWhen you moved into your first home, whether it was an apartment or a small starter home, you knew you wouldn’t stay there forever. But how do you feel about the house you call home today? You’ve lived there for years—decades, even—so it’s hard to imagine moving again. But does it suit your lifestyle now? And into the future?  

But if there’s one certainty in life, it’s that life is not certain. More adults, including those who feel they want to stay in the homes they live in now, will end up moving more than once following retirement. In fact, according to a recent article by Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., older adults may move up to five times during retirement.

Here, we discuss five possible moves Coughlin says people are likely to make during retirement:

Move No. 1: Moving to a Smaller Home

Bigger isn’t always better—at least that’s how many retirees feel about their homes. That’s why many choose to downsize, which involves moving from a larger home to a smaller one. People of all ages downsize for a variety of reasons. Some do it to save money, some out of necessity due to lifestyle changes and some out of a desire to live an eco-friendly or low-maintenance lifestyle. Many retirees choose to downsize after their children have moved out and they’re left with a nest that’s larger than they need.

Move No. 2: Moving to Follow Children and/or Grandchildren

Speaking of children, many older adults choose to move (whether for the first time since retirement or after downsizing) to be closer to their families. According to Coughlin, college educated adult children are more likely to relocate from their childhood hometown to another region, and nowadays, their parents are likely to follow.

Move No. 3: Moving to a More Accessible Home

When people look for a new home, accessibility isn’t always high on the priority list. So as people age and their physical capacities change, many find themselves in homes they can no longer live comfortably and safely. That’s why many older adults will move again to universally designed homes. These types of homes have a number of features that make aging in place easier and safer, including no-step entry, wide exterior and interior doorways (that can accommodate a wheelchair), and a first-floor bedroom and full bathroom.

Move No. 4: Moving in with Family

In 1980, multigenerational households (those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof) accounted for 12 percent of the U.S. population. By 2010, that number had climbed to approximately 16.1 percent, indicating more older adults are choosing to move in with their children and grandchildren. Sometimes, this move is out of necessity (the person needs a child to act as a care partner or is facing financial difficulty) or support (the person lost his or her spouse or partner). In other situations, the older adult is hoping to reduce expenditures or is looking to reap the many benefits of intergenerational living.

Move No. 5: Moving to a Retirement Living Community


Retirement living communities are still a popular choice of home for many older adults. Not only do retirement living communities offer their residents a number of opportunities to socialize and stay active as they grow older, they are also designed to accommodate their residents’ changing needs. Moving to a retirement living community sooner rather than later may eliminate a move or two as well as the associated costs. 

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How many times have you relocated? Share your experience with us.