Types of Senior-Related Moves


  • Amenity seeking
  • Anticipatory/Preparatory
  • Needs-based
  • Crisis-based
  • Estates

Amenity seeking

Amenity moves are characteristic of recent retirees, married couples (or newly remarried), and more affluent, healthy, independent, and active adults. Amenitybased moves are usually driven by the desire to be near family or friends, have access to recreation and preferred climates, or to have newer or more appealing home styles or neighborhoods. While not all amenity-based relocations are toward 55+ communities, many younger seniors prefer to live in areas that have a similar demographic makeup. They may refer to their new residence with a pool, trendy design elements, spacious rooms and closets, etc. as their “forever home” because in their view it’s perfect for living out the golden years together. Interestingly for some, this may be their second, third, or fourth “forever home.”

Anticipatory/Preparatory (i.e. planners)

Anticipatory relocations may also be referred to as “downsizing” or “rightsizing.” The goal of most anticipatory moves is to simplify life such that if the individual experiences a physical decline, loses a spouse, or decides to travel frequently, the home is not a burden. In some cases, the homeowner may choose to trade a twostory home for a one-story, a large acreage for a gated community, or an older less accessible home for a newer mobility friendly residence.
Those seniors over 80 years of age often choose to sell the current home and lease versus purchasing another property to become free from the burden of home maintenance. Some may choose to relocate to another single-family residence, condo, or garden home, while others may elect a senior living community (i.e. independent living, assisted living, or CCRC) meeting their current or future needs.


While the need-driven move is not specific to any particular age range, the 80+ senior adult (usually widowed) is the most frequent of the senior segment experiencing this type of move. Family members or other caregivers are often involved in both the decision-making process and the relocation. The primary factors influencing this type of move include:
  • Inability to maintain the home due to physical or cognitive decline
  • Need for formal support with activities of daily living (ADLs) or independent activities of daily living (IADLs)
  • Need for formal support for a spouse experiencing cognitive or physical decline


Lastly, crisis-based seniors are rarely at choice about their housing options. They likely are reliant upon family members or other trusted advisors to assist them with their relocation, real estate, and housing-related decisions.
Some may be actively involved in the transaction, but many have either abdicated these tasks to others or are incapacitated (temporarily or permanently) and thereby excluded from the process. Family members, attorneys, or close friends may be handling relocation-related details, sometimes with and sometimes without formal instructions.


Estates typically involve a personal representative acting on behalf of a deceased homeowner. Transactions may be fairly straightforward when the property is held in trust or there is a simple probate process with only one heir. In the event of probate involving multiple heirs or complex estates, this process can be time consuming. Agents can expect to work with attorneys and/or personal representatives directly.