We can all agree that change is hard. Even when we’re making a change for the better – such as moving to a carefree senior living community – nervousness, sadness about leaving your old home, and feeling out of place can make it difficult to transition smoothly into your new lifestyle. However, with a bit of perseverance and a positive attitude, you can start to feel at home in your senior living community in no time.
TRANSITIONING FROM ONE HOME TO ANOTHER
By the time we reach retirement age, most of us have lived in the same house for years. Many have raised our children in that home and have a lifetime of memories connected to it. You may wonder how your new residence at a senior living community can ever feel like home compared to that. To be honest, the two can’t compare. Your new community marks a completely new phase of your life, and while your new cottage, suite, or apartment can never replace your family home, it can be the starting point for a whole new chapter.
Here are some ideas to try for making your senior living community feel more like home:
- Focus on Positivity – Even though you’ve made the choice to move to a senior living community, there are sure to be some things you’re nervous about. While this is normal, try to lessen your stress by focusing on the positive aspects of your move. Start looking into the programs and amenities you’ll be able to take part in. Plan a housewarming party to get to know new neighbors. Think about how you’ll decorate your new space.Then, once you’ve moved in, start referring to the community as “home.” You’ll be surprised how this subtle shift can affect how you perceive your community.
- Decorate with Meaning – Make your senior living apartment, house or suite feel like home by decorating it to reflect your personal style and tastes. Display familiar items from your old house, such as a favorite painting, throw pillows and blankets, books or small keepsakes. Many senior living communities encourage residents to bring their own pieces of furniture as well. If you have a favorite armchair or small dining set, bring those along for extra comfort and familiarity.
- Utilize Storage Space – For some of us, downsizing can be a difficult process. You may have trouble discarding beloved items that simply won’t fit into your new home. To help ease the burden of leaving special items behind, ask a family member to help store some things for you, or rent a storage unit close to your community. This way, you can switch out seasonal items or redecorate later on and avoid the sadness of parting with cherished possessions.
- Ask for Support – If the thought of moving to your new community makes you feel nervous or lonely, ask a close friend or family member to help you move. Not only will an extra person help the physical move go smoothly, but their presence can provide you emotional support, too. Invite a positive person who will be excited to explore your community with you and help you set up your apartment. They’re excitement will rub off on you and help ease your concerns.
- Get Involved – Stay connected with your community’s social, entertainment and educational programming and try out clubs that interest you and attend special events. Don’t feel like you have to try everything available, but take the opportunity as a new resident to learn as much as you can about the activities that go on at your community. Try new things, or search for events that suit your current interests. The more you explore, the more people you’ll meet and the more opportunities you’ll discover.
- Be Patient – Most importantly, be patient as you adjust to your new home. It’s perfectly normal to feel out-of-place or reluctant right after a big move. Even long after you move in to your community, you may feel homesick for your old house or routines. That’s okay. During those times, try to connect to the parts of your life that make you feel most comfortable. Go for a walk at your favorite park or invite over good friends. Trust that home is where you make it.
MAKING HOME ONE DAY AT A TIME
While it’s normal to feel uncertain about the newest chapter of your retirement, don’t let nerves hold you back from making the most out of your community lifestyle. Senior living can allow for so many opportunities for friendships and purpose that you may never experience otherwise. Try to focus each day on making your community feel like home.
If you would like to know more about life at a senior living community, as well as great ways to adjust to a community lifestyle, keep up with our blogs and reach out to those you know who have made the move.