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More boomers are opting for smaller neighborhoods with a bigger sense of community

Downsizing

Last year, when their last child graduated from college and moved out, Linda and Mark Lauritano considered downsizing from their 3,000-square-foot home in Stow, Mass. When they had to pack up Mark's parents' house in Maine and move them to a New York apartment, Linda and Mark committed to living with less.

They found Concord Riverwalk, a new community of 13 small homes in nearby historic Concord. From there Linda, a project manager, could take the commuter train into Boston, rather than drive for an hour or more every day, and the couple could walk to movies and restaurants in town. "I had never heard of a pocket neighborhood," says Linda, 55. But the couple was sold on the design, convenience, energy efficiency, community gardens, outdoor screened pavilion and fireplace, and the diverse ages of residents.

Still, Concord Riverwalk has been an adjustment for Linda: Their two-bedroom is half the size of her old house, and close homes have replaced the 1.5 acres of privacy. Yet she has no regrets.

They're not sure what will happen if they need more space for grandchildren someday. But Mark, 56, a business consultant, isn't worried. He thinks it will be much easier to sell the new place than their old, large home in Stow that always needed repairs.

They aced one big worry: housing family during Christmas. Two of their sons slept in the partially finished basement, the other on a pull-out couch in the study. Mark's mother stayed in the second bedroom. Coziness turned out to be a blessing. Says Mark, "Because our new place is smaller and the living area is open, we spent a lot more time together talking."

Sally Abrahms writes about boomers and aging. She blogs about caregiving at or at sallyabrahms.com.

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