Shirley is in her late 60s and has been widowed for 18 months. She still lives in the four-bedroom family home that she and her husband built over 25 years ago.

While there are many things Shirley loves about her home, she does wonder if she should look at buying a smaller house with a more compact garden that better suits her "age and stage". She muses that perhaps "'s ridiculous for me to be rattling around in such a big house, and the garden is huge. Maybe it's time to leave."

Shirley points out that it's also hard to make ends meet. Living on your own means that you still have all the fixed costs of running a home on a single income. She is looking into whether she would be eligible for a rates rebate. Currently she can afford to pay for help in her garden and with the lawns, but there may come a time when she can't cope so well with the garden.

On the other hand, there are many things that Shirley appreciates about her home. Over the years, she and her husband have collected many valued possessions, and the home holds a multitude of treasured memories. For Shirley, her home's location and outlook are important. If she moves, it must be to a home that she feels compatible with; that she can relate to. Shirley wants to continue gardening, even if it's on a small scale.

She's been talking to a couple of friends who are also widowed about their experiences. One advised against moving too soon.

That friend gave herself time to adjust to being alone after being married for 60 years. Another friend said, "Know yourself, and know what you think will be right for you because, without a husband, you do have to adjust."

Shirley accepts that she shouldn't rush into making a decision and concludes "I don't want to be rushed. I don't want others to basically make the decision for me."

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