So, you’re making the move to a retirement community. First off, congratulations! This is a big step in your life, and one that you should be excited about.
Moving into a senior living community is a great opportunity for you to pursue all the things you’re most passionate about. Meeting new friends, finding new hobbies — this is all part of the excitement that surrounds a happy retirement. But of course, it’s a big change. And just like with any major life decisions, there are usually some obstacles along the way. That is, if you aren’t prepared.
The good news: this isn’t your first rodeo, and we’re here to help you. Here are 6 tips to make sure you have a seamless transition into your new home.
1: Research How to Downsize
As is the case with any decision to move, the first step is packing up your belongings. However, what is not normally the case is learning how to curate everything you own to fit your new lifestyle.
It’s one of the most common obstacles that older adults have to go through as they transition to a senior living community. People can often spend weeks, or even months, trying to sort through all the clothing, knick-knacks and sentimental items that have been collected throughout their lifetime. And for good reason — these mementos serve as reminders of your fondest memories. They’re important.
So before you decide to take on the challenge, read up on the do’s and don’ts of downsizing to make the process as efficient as possible. Even reach out to friends and family for advice or help. Having your loved ones around as you sort through your belongings is a great way to share your favorite moments with the ones you care about as you get ready for your move.
2: Make It Feel Like Home
Buying all new furniture for your new home may sound like a lot of fun and a great way to get a fresh start. However, having familiar belongings around a new living space can help you feel more comfortable and homier than you might with all new furniture in the mix. So while you might be tempted to sell that living room couch or bedroom dresser, take time to see if you can mix and match the old with the new to make your new residence a perfect reflection of who you are.
And aside from the interior of your home, there are several ways to make your new community feel even cozier. If you’re interested in doing a little more digging, our piece on “How to Feel at Home in a Life Plan Community” offers advice on just that, as well as what the community offers to help make moving in a little easier.
3: Get Comfortable with Community Staff
One of the easiest ways to adjust to your new community is to get comfortable with the people who work there.
Staff members at senior living communities aren’t just hired for their skill sets — they’re also hired for their people skills and personability. Simply put, they are there to help you feel relaxed, secure and at home in your new living situation.
Whether it’s the house cleaners who do your laundry and linens, the maintenance crew who mow and mulch, or the marketing team who helped you decide to move in the first place, the staff surrounding you are there to support you in pursuing your passions and focusing on the things that bring you enjoyment in life.
These are people you’ll likely be interacting with on a daily basis, so being able to have friendly conversations with them will undoubtedly make a difference in your overall happiness. Consider introducing them to your family and friends — this is a great way to put their minds at ease, and in turn, make you feel cozier in your new home.
4: Organize Family Visits
This one should come as no surprise — being able to see family is likely at the top of anybody’s retirement list. So, make it a priority.
You don’t have to lose touch with your friends and loved ones just because you’re moving into a retirement community. In fact, that’s even more of a reason to invite them over for an evening and show off your new place. Communities often have pools or lawns that are great for active grandchildren and delicious dining venues or party rooms for entertaining.
Even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment, many communities have guest rooms where family members can stay, so having your grandkids stay for the weekend can be a fairly normal occurrence.
5: Make The Move Sooner Rather Than Later
Many of the most satisfied residents at senior living communities are the ones who moved in when they were younger and could enjoy all of the active lifestyle available. And there’s a reason for that.
The peace of mind that comes with knowing there is a continuum of care available if and when needed is important, and moving into a community on your own terms can give you a sense of empowerment. Being able to choose when it’s time for you to prepare for the next stage of your life gives you a mental edge while making the transition. It’s your way of saying, “I’m making this decision on my own, because I’m ready and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.”
6: Get Involved in the Community
Though it’s last on our list of tips, finding ways to interact with the rest of your community is just as important as everything else we’ve listed above.
Similar to the boost in school spirit you felt by going to football games or prom, getting involved in activities with your neighbors can make you feel more at home. Doing so can give you a sense of camaraderie with your fellow residents, and gives you an opportunity to make new friends in the process who have similar interests.
There are plenty of ways to get involved too. You can offer to start a club on campus, or join an existing one. Being a part of things like book clubs or swimming lessons is a great way to meet new people or even find a new hobby. The key is fairly simple: just be adventurous and try different things. You never know what you might fall in love with.
Still Looking For The Right Community?
While transitioning into a new community can be hard without the right help, actually finding the new community can be just as challenging. If you’re still looking for the right senior living community for you, be sure to look into our community here at Viamonte at Walnut Creek. Feel free to take a look at the rest of our website here, or you can reach out to a member of our team by calling us at 925.621.6600.