Without a doubt, moving into a Senior Living community can be a stressful event. Oftentimes, you’re leaving a home you’ve lived in for decades, and anxieties run high, ranging from losing family keepsakes and memories to what the new place will be like.
More than likely, the positive aspects of life in your new home might not become apparent until you’ve had some time to adjust and get involved with other residents.
It’s important, even if a child is helping you make this decision, that you take the lead role in making the decision. Visit the communities you’re considering and spend some time there meeting people and have a meal if you can. Food is important, and you’re going to want dining options that you’ll love. Take control of the planning process early and think about what each month leading up to the move will entail.
When it comes time to sort through the personal items in your home, go through the house room by room and sort objects into categories like items to be moved to Senior Living, and mementos to be left with family members, items to be sold, items to be donated and items to throw away. During the sorting and packing process, reminisce about keepsakes — after all, so many possessions have an emotional attachment and the memories should be honored. Invite family and close friends over and share the memories and joy with them. Ask a grandchild to harness the power of her iPhone to capture the day on video — especially your stories. Everyone will cherish these memories for years to come.
When it’s time to move, start by setting up your room with photos, furniture, and familiar belongings from home to make the transition easier. Invite friends and family to visit your new home in the weeks following — they are going to want to see your new place and get to know your new friends.
Despite all efforts for a move to go smoothly, some setbacks are inevitable. Feeling lonely and questioning your decision is normal, but those feelings will pass. Home is more than just a place, but also an emotional connection. And now you have all new opportunities to create more memories and build friendships with new neighbors. And don’t forget: This is a big step. Treat yourself with grace and know that it might take some time to adjust. But life will be better when it’s fun, full, and rich with relationships and activities.