When searching for housing, go where there are healthy choices which match your current needs.

 Never Buy Pickles in a Hardware Store!

The other day I stopped at a local hardware store to find the exact nuts and bolt for a broken cabinet. While perusing the store I noticed several jars of pickles strategically placed at the checkout. That is where logic goes out the window and compulsive behavior takes charge. Those pickles must be good, I thought, as they have made it all the way to the front of the store!

As it turned out, the pickles were the bulk of my purchase dollars and I couldn’t wait to get home and let my wife know that I had found the ‘golden fleece’ of pickles! I called my wife’s name with excitement waiting for her to be the test case and forever crown me as the ultimate guy shopper! I opened the jar with great excitement and you could feel the tension in the air. The cover came off and out of that jar an explosion of aroma…a very different smell. A pungent odor that defies an explanation with the limited space for this article. Although our senses were putting up warning signs, we moved forward to taste one of these beauties. I talked my wife into taking that first bite to see where it would lead us next. She reluctantly pursued this uncharted food territory. I can tell you where that test pickle took us…straight to the garbage can!

Oh this was a very bad idea. Buying this jar of seasonings and garnishes seemed like a wonderful idea at the time but in hindsight my instincts and gut told me different. That little voice told me to stop at the nut and bolt but no…I couldn’t resist the possibility that this pickle could be ‘the one’!

My questionable decision only involved a few dollars and having to admit to my wife I’d made a mistake. But when it comes to seniors making housing choices the implications of a bad decision are much greater!

How often do we tell ourselves a story that we know has very little basis in reality but seems to feel right at the time? We have told ourselves repeatedly to just listen to our gut and follow our instincts when making a major decision. The intelligent part of our brain knows that we should search for referrals from those who we rely on for practicality but we just have to do it our way!  We have to open that jar and move in a direction that defies logic. I am talking about treating your housing situation the way you would treat your investments for retirement. We have a financial plan intact, we have our insurance policies ready when needed but we leave where we live to chance. We wait for that sign that lets us know it is time to make a change.

Think about your home and the time you spend in your current surroundings. Take a moment to assess your physical and mental needs in real time. We tend to look back at our lives 20 years ago when our home’s floor plan, location, proximity to schools meant everything to us. But today, in many cases our children are out of the nest and you are left with space, maintenance and a whole lot of stuff!

We avoid change as a survival mechanism. Change in years past may have meant danger. Our adrenaline responses to perceived threats still kick in when asked to give a speech or facing a new and uncomfortable situation. So it is natural to keep on with the status quo as we will move towards familiarity and away from new surroundings which are unfamiliar to us. Like the pickle at the hardware store we look to the wrong places when making such an important decision as to where we will live for the next chapter of our lives.

We venture out to look at the housing options and find the ‘taste’ of those choices as a negative experience and move back to the same situation, whether it works for us or not.

We tend to look in the wrong places trying to find the closest match to what we already possess and then decide to stay where we are.

We wait for that sign from above that will let us know when to make a change. Many times that sign comes quickly and harshly in the form of a fall, a health change, or fear of leaving your home that you have cherished so deeply.

My point is to look in the right places. When searching for housing, go where there are healthy choices which match your current needs. Just as shopping for a jar of pickles, go to the place where others have already tested the market and are enjoying their choice. A store with many different brands offers the best chance of satisfaction as others have already tasted the products offered. The winners remain and the losers end up in the garbage so that in most cases you won’t have to endure the wrong choice and wasted dollars.

There are so many wonderful housing options available today. There are senior apartments, 50plus condominium complexes, independent and assisted apartments as well as total life care options. The key is to match who you are today, what your needs are today, how you live today. How close do you want to be to your children and grandchildren? What do you want to do with the money tied up in your home? Could that equity work to free you from worry and maintenance? Would a different housing option offer safety and comfort and a healthier lifestyle? These are all questions you should ponder as well as discuss with your significant other and trusted advisers.

Just as the grocery store may be the better option for your food purchases, the many home options out there which conform to who you are today is that store where you will find the best options and the right purchase. Looking for a home that mimics your current surroundings will be the pickle in the hardware store. You’ll look in the wrong places for your possible new home and find it distasteful and decide to stay right where you are.

Getting the right information, opening your mind to new possibilities will take you to your favorite store where you will make the right purchase and will enjoy the fruits of getting the right information. The result will be satisfying, healthy and will provide comfort and less worry about the future. The next time you are in that hardware store be practical and walk out with a Weber Grill or light bulbs!