Downsizing

Moving to a smaller property can have a number of advantages. You could:

  • release capital, which would give you extra money to live on
  • reduce your running costs
  • cut down on housework and maintenance.

However, there may be some drawbacks:

  • moving costs can be expensive
  • smaller properties are not necessarily cheaper, depending on the area and type of property
  • money left after the sale could affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.

Before you move, consider the following questions:

  • Is there enough space for all the belongings you would want to keep?
  • Will your friends and family be able to visit?
  • What are the local facilities and transport links like?

It's also important to think about whether the property will be suitable if your needs change in the future.

Moving to a home designed for older people

If you don’t want to have adaptations made to your own home, you might want to consider moving to a property that already has the features you need. Accessible and adapted homes are designed to provide support for disabled and older people, such as step-free access into the home and reinforced walls where grabrails or wall-mounted seats can be installed.

Some areas operate Accessible Housing Registers (AHRs), which provide information about adapted properties to buy or rent. Ask your local authority or Citizens Advice for details of AHRs in your area.

Moving in with family or friends

Moving in with your family or good friends can be an attractive option, and this often works well. But it’s important to be realistic and make sure that everyone shares the same expectations.

Practical considerations

You should make sure the arrangement is right for you and set boundaries from the start. Some questions to ask include:

  • Will you have your own space and be able to entertain friends?
  • Will you be able to get out and about independently or have to rely on those you live with?
  • Who will look after you if you need care?
  • Does the house need any adaptations?

Financial and legal considerations

Be clear about the financial arrangements. Moving in with family or friends could have implications for care home fees or means-tested benefits later. It is important to clarify:

  • who pays for what
  • how the arrangement will affect the wider family – for example, in terms of inheritance
  • what will happen if your needs change
  • what you will do if the arrangement doesn’t work

You should get independent legal advice and consider having a formal agreement drawn up. Visit Money Advice Service for more information on choosing an adviser.

Next steps

You can find information about accessible housing on the Accessibility Property Register.

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