Why Now is a Great Time to Move to Senior Living
You may have already decided that a move to a senior living community is in your long-term plans, perhaps still a few years away. But health and family events (and these days, even the housing market) can change life—and the best-laid plans—overnight. When it comes to a senior living move, earlier is always better than later to get ahead of the complications that can occur later in life. Consider these reasons why moving up your timeline can give you more time to relax and enjoy this next chapter.
The best time to move is when you’re healthy, active, and independent
This is actually one of the biggest reasons to move, but it flips a myth on its head. It’s easy to think that the time for senior living begins once we’re no longer independent. On the contrary: a thriving senior living community offers a full social calendar of activities and outings, health-conscious dining, and wellness and exercise programs that are all much easier to join when you’re healthy and mobile.
Not only that, but staying in your home until a health issue forces a move may actually narrow your community options. While many communities offer both independent and assisted living, there’s often a requirement to first join at the independent level to be able to add on assisted living services when they’re needed.
Finally, there’s the known truth about moving: even when it’s an exciting and happy one, a move can be physically and mentally taxing. Being in good health will make the difference between a smooth, independent, successful move and an exhausting, overwhelming one with less agency. (It’s worth considering working with a move manager to make the process much easier; these five tips may also help in reducing anxiety.) If any health issues are beginning or predicted as part of a condition, you may want to talk with your family about moving up your timeline to get ahead of them.
Move in the best weather possible
Here in Seattle, late spring and summer are busy seasons for moving companies, and for good reason: moving, packing, and driving are all much easier and less stressful in sunny, dry, temperate weather. You’ll likely thank yourself later if you plan with that in mind, especially when it comes to working with movers.
As it turns out, warm and sunny weather also happens to be the best way to enjoy the social outings, gardens and outdoor spaces, and other good-weather offerings from senior living communities. And with sunshine boosting everyone’s mood, it’s the easiest time to meet people, too. So moving in the late fall and winter months may mean waiting awhile to get the full experience and social benefits. Why lose that time?
Know that feelings aren’t always a true compass
No matter how long you’ve been planning a move, there are still many mixed emotions around change and leaving a place you’ve called home for years. It can be uncomfortable and a source of anxiety, which are both reasons why many seniors stall and put off a move. Sometimes fears, doubts, or ‘cold feet’ feelings can come up as the move is approaching or starting to feel more real. Those feelings are all as much a part of the process of change as excitement and anticipation.
Many seniors may be waiting for that ‘perfect’ time to move, that feeling of excitement and readiness, or for some event (health or otherwise) to dictate the timing. Era Living Area Community Relations Director Joan Rettmann understands the natural human tendency to avoid discomfort, but encourages seniors to work through it. “It’s quite natural and normal [to feel uncomfortable], and if you were to apply that to other very important decisions that you’ve made in your life, those probably felt uncomfortable too,” she says. “But don’t let that feeling be a reason to hold you back, because that’s how we grow, by moving through feeling uncomfortable sometimes while processing information.”
And when those feelings come up, it can be a good time to ask yourself: what does ready look like to me?
- You may want to be done with home maintenance and repair costs.
- You may be curious about exploring a new neighborhood or city.
- You may want to take advantage of a seller’s housing market.
- You may want to build up your support network with a new community of friends, neighbors, and additional health care resources.
- You may want to live closer to family.
The other question you may want to ask yourself is: do I want this be my choice? It may happen that a future serious health issue transfers moving decisions to a family member. Taking advantage of the ability to make this decision yours can make a difference in your satisfaction and contentment in a new home. Just as important, it can help maintain a strong sense of agency, empowerment, and responsibility for ourselves.
Start getting ready with waitlists
One way to start mentally preparing to move and get into that headspace is to get on the waitlists of your top two or three choices. And for some communities, being on a waitlist can come with great perks like dining at the community, access to resident resources, attending special events, and even priority choice of apartments. Plus, you can join a waitlist as early as you want and since many senior living communities can stay full for awhile, it may give you some time to start downsizing (it’s never too early) and planning your move.
So while there is rarely ever a perfect time to move, there’s always a good time to move. All too often, Joan Rettmann hears residents wish they had moved sooner and taken more time to enjoy their new lifestyle. “That’s one of the most common comments that we get, actually,” she says. “We hear from a lot of people, ‘I’m so glad I’m here; I don’t know what took me so long to move; I wish I had moved sooner.’ It can be so clear after the fact, but so hard to make that decision because you haven’t yet lived it.”
If you have questions about joining an Era Living community, we’d love to talk with you. Get in touch to learn more about our retirement communities and our waitlists. You may be surprised at how glad you’ll be that you started when you did.