Why Is It So Hard to Think About Leaving My Current House?

Oct 6, 2023 | Blog, Moving to Senior Living

What makes a house a home? Chances are you’ve probably asked yourself this question. Especially if you’ve reached retirement age (or you’re already retired) and you’ve started thinking about moving to a retirement community. There are a lot of benefits to a retirement community—particularly, one like Park Place of Elmhurst. You know in your head it’s going to be good in the long run, but the question your heart is asking is, can it ever come close to being a “home” like the house you’re living in now?

It’s overwhelming to think about, especially when you look around and see all the prized possessions you can’t imagine leaving behind. And the logistics and business of selling, packing, and moving? No thank you. So, is it the brick-and-mortar structure that defines what a home is to us? Is it all our stuff? We’ll come back to that shortly, so stick with us.

Why Is This Such a Struggle for So Many People? The Answer Is Liminality.

Liminality is the feeling of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage (say, moving from your longtime home to a senior living community), when you no longer hold your pre-ritual status but haven’t yet become a member of the community. So, it has nothing to do with any physical feature of a house and everything to do with how you feel. And the feeling isn’t very good.

Standing at the threshold (limin is Latin for threshold) between the known and unknown, where the order of things is suspended, can be terrifying. When you’re in a state of liminality, no matter how much you love the residence you’ve chosen, it’s almost impossible to know what to expect on the other side of your transition or what will be expected of you when you get there. Literally, what’s going to become of you?

Can You Handle Yet Another Change?

Sure you can, but the question now is, is this change going to be worth it? As you weigh the pros and cons, consider the following:

  1. People who move to retirement communities like Park Place of Elmhurst tend to enjoy a robust social life and all the benefits that come with it. A Harvard Study of Adult Development found that personal connections are the most important factor in long-term health and happiness. Those personal connections are what Park Place of Elmhurst is all about, and you’ll enjoy them every day.
  2. This is a decision you control—at least for now. If you don’t move, a situation could arise that would require someone, most likely an adult child, to start making decisions for you. No matter how much they love you, there’s a chance that some things very important to you, including wishes for how you want to live, could be ignored.

The Tipping Point

Once you decide you want to move from your house, how do you know when the time is right? This is where you must grapple with the unknown. Making decisions is stressful enough, but this is an emotional one, and that makes things even more treacherous. You may feel an overwhelming urge to walk away from it until “later” or “one day,” but here’s an idea: Step back, take a deep breath, and reframe it. You may find it helpful to discuss it with trusted advisors or family—or not. This is a very personal decision, but the good news is that if you do the work now, you’ll get to make it while the choice is still yours.

A Different Kind of Home

Getting back to the definition of home we brought up earlier, home isn’t so much the building, but the things that happen inside and outside it. It’s a place to care about people, tell stories and make memories. And those memories live with you—no matter where you live.

When you think about it that way, moving away from the old homestead transforms itself from a negative experience to an exciting opportunity. It’s a new adventure in a new place where you can be yourself and enjoy a new chapter of life, with new things to do and new people with whom to share them.

The old house may be gone, but the things that made it home will be the same in your new place. In terms of “home,” the only thing you’ve really changed is your address. 

Located in the Chicago suburbs, Park Place of Elmhurst offers upscale maintenance-free living in a variety of floor plans to suit your tastes. With our resort-style amenities, robust social programming and access to skilled care (if you ever need it), you can feel your best, make the most of every day and become part of a vibrant community. See why people choose to make Park Place of Elmhurst home by calling (630) 936-4504.