Making a Smooth Transition from Home to a Retirement Community
Moving is tough at any age. The weeks leading up to a move can be mentally and physically exhausting. Even when we are excited about getting a fresh start and tackling new adventures, we know that moving brings change and uncertainty. Both are more difficult to process as we grow older.
For older adults, a transition can be especially challenging.. This generation often lived in the same home for many decades. The house may represent a lifetime of memories, including raising a family.
So what can seniors and their adult children do to ensure a smooth transition to a retirement community?
It starts before the first box is even packed.
6 Steps for Making a Smooth Transition to a Retirement Community
Once you’ve found a senior living community you feel comfortable calling home, it’s time to start preparing for the move. Here are a few of our best tips for getting started:
Attend a Workshop: Some communities, like those of Seattle’s Era Living, offer Moving & Downsizing Workshops. These sessions cover everything from advice on de-cluttering your home to tips for choosing a moving company. Make a point of attending one as soon as you decide it’s time for a transition.
Get Involved in Your New Community Before the Move: Don’t wait until after you or your senior loved one are moved in and settled to get involved in retirement community life. Participate in life enrichment activities that sound interesting and fun before you move! Ask the staff to introduce you to residents they feel you have a lot in common with and make arrangements to have coffee together. Getting comfortable with the community and its residents will help ease moving anxieties.
Create a Familiar Environment: Plan to incorporate some favorite belongings in to the décor of the new apartment. While it might seem tempting to sell the old furniture and buy new, it’s important for the new home to look and feel familiar. Think about which furniture and household treasures are most important and make sure they find their way to the new home.
Encourage Visitors: The first few weeks and months can be a bit of a balancing act. No one wants to feel alone after making such a big move. On the other hand, too much involvement can keep you or your older loved one from making new friends. Try to set up a schedule of when family and friends will visit during the early days after the transition. It might also make it easier to get involved in new clubs and activities if a familiar face attends the first time or two.
Plan to Party: Another step you can take to make this transition a happy one is to plan a housewarming party! It will give everyone a chance to see the new home, as well as provide old friends with an opportunity to meet the new friends. The staff at the community will be glad to help with hosting the party.
Prepare for Bumps: No matter how excited you and your older family member are about this new adventure, there may be difficult days. It can make those days go more smoothly if you plan for them. Create a list of people to call or things to do if a tough day arises. Also remind yourself and your senior loved one about the research you did to choose the community and the confidence you feel about making the move.
If you or your senior loved one live in the greater Seattle area, we encourage you to request a copy of our Downsize to the Right Size guide. This helpful guide is full of resources to help make downsizing and moving a little easier