We tend to picture retirement one way: seniors leisurely relaxing on a beach or by a pool, sipping a cool beverage and letting go of all their cares. And though this image might be perfect for many — or great for a vacation — it’s not the only way to retire. In fact, many seniors think about that version of retirement, only to be filled with dread at the thought of an empty schedule with nothing to do. For these seniors, a homesteading retirement could be the perfect solution.
However, many seniors who might be interested in homesteading don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. We hope these tips help you figure out if homesteading is right for you, and help you get started on your journey toward the perfect retirement:
Who Should Homestead?
Your first step should be evaluating whether or not homesteading feels like a good retirement for you. Remember, homesteading doesn’t necessarily mean being entirely self-sufficient, but it does mean reducing your use of outside resources as much as is possible and comfortable for your situation. Homesteaders make an effort to grow the majority of their own food, usually through gardening but often via livestock care as well.
Homesteading is a significant physical undertaking, which can be a pro and a con for retirees. On one hand, it’s built on physical exercise that can keep you healthy for years. On the other, if you have existing health issues — or develop them down the line — it can become too much of an undertaking, especially if you have a lot of land. Although there are ways to make things more manageable (more on this later), recognizing the physical demands of this lifestyle can help you decide if it’s right for you.
Finding Your Property
Homesteading would traditionally require a rural property, but that’s not the only option these days. More and more technology has emerged that makes urban and suburban farming possible. Plus, as interest in sustainability rises, more and more neighborhoods are allowing homesteading features such as a backyard chicken coop.
Check out the properties that are available on your market, and try to imagine how you’d set up your homestead there. Remember to consider options such as greenhouse growing, vertical gardening, and hydroponics. These can really expand your ability to grow the foods you want in a smaller space or non-ideal environment. Finally, be sure to check zoning rules — some neighborhoods will have restrictions that can prevent you from achieving your goals.
Meeting Your Physical Abilities
As we said above, homesteading is a great way to stay active well into your golden years, but it’s important to only make a job for yourself that you’ll be able to handle in the long run. A huge property with sweeping gardens isn’t likely to be sustainable, and unless you want to hire farm hands, you’ll need to think smaller.
This is where those alternative gardening methods we mentioned earlier can really come in hand for seniors. Vertical gardening can give you the ability to keep a significant amount of crops growing in a relatively small space. Though you’ll still have a fair amount to tend, it will be more manageable with less ground to cover. You can combine this with a greenhouse or a hydroponics system to ensure you can keep your crops going strong no matter the weather, so you can enjoy homegrown foods all year long.
Although it’s not right for everyone, homesteading offers a fun and satisfying way to retire. It’s important to create a practical, sustainable plan in order to make the most of it. After all, there are few things quite as empowering as living off of your own land and hard work well into your golden years.