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5 Ways to Ease the Transition to a Senior Living Community

May 14, 2021

For most of us, change is hard because it doesn’t always come naturally or easily. But if we never change, we never grow. Change offers us the opportunity for improvement, and while sometimes uncomfortable at first, the benefits often outweigh the challenges.

Moving to a senior living community is no different. It’s a change that requires resiliency, determination and patience. But it also reaps so many rewards, including increased happiness. Research shows that senior living community residents are happier and more satisfied when they have a greater sense of community belonging.

As you or a loved one embarks on the transition to a senior living community, keep this advice in mind for making the transition easier.

Start Downsizing Early

Part of the stress of transitioning to a senior living community comes from the move itself. Packing up belongings takes time and energy, as does physically moving the items, unpacking them in the new home, and organizing. The earlier you start to downsize, the less stressful these tasks will be.

Take it one day and one room at a time. Break it down into smaller tasks so it’s less overwhelming, and you get the motivation of quick wins. Make three piles or labeled boxes (Keep, Donate, Sell) and begin organizing. By starting early, you give yourself plenty of time to take it slow and put more thought into your decisions.

Also, remember that many retirement communities offer moving and packing/unpacking services to help ensure a smoother transition. For example, here at ESCL, we offer moving company recommendations to every new resident, as needed.

Make Your New Home More “You”

Part of easing the transition to a senior living community involves making it feel like home. That means unpacking and thoughtfully organizing your possessions, decorating in the style you like, and adding personalizations to your new home (think family photos and keepsakes.) Other ideas for making the new space feel more like home include:

  • Hosting a housewarming party with loved ones
  • Inviting family over for one of your favorite, go-to home-cooked meals
  • Baking your favorite dessert and reveling in the nostalgic aroma that fills your new home

Moving to a senior living community means making your new space as comfortable and homelike as possible. Take the time to make it your own.

Get Involved

Part of what makes independent living communities so fantastic is the opportunity to participate in fun events and activities. Getting out of your new home to engage and connect with others is one of the best things you can do not only for the short-term transition, but for long-term happiness. Studies show residents who were satisfied with their daily life and leisure activities had a strong association with overall happiness.

You or your loved one has access to countless activities and events — from monthly social gatherings and entertainment to wellness programs designed for optimal health. Here are a few ways you or your loved one can engage and connect with others right away:

  • Introduce yourself to new neighbors
  • Talk with staff members as you see them throughout the community
  • Join a club or group
  • Dine with a neighbor or new acquaintance

Take Advantage of Health and Wellness Opportunities

You or your loved one will feel happier and more satisfied with this major life change if physical health is in check, too. That means staying as active as possible, getting out of the house, taking medications as prescribed, following a healthy diet, and maintaining routine doctors’ appointments.

Check to see if your new community offers fitness classes you may enjoy, like swimming aerobics, yoga or walking groups. Want to incorporate more nutritious foods into your diet? See if the community offers cooking classes or nutrition courses. Keep your health and wellness a top priority.

Maintain Life Outside the Community

Moving to a senior living community doesn’t mean you or your loved one’s former life is over. It also doesn’t mean freedom is gone. Make sure you or your loved one is getting out of the neighborhood once in a while to maintain beloved routines, like going to a favorite restaurant, getting nails done, going shopping, etc.

Life doesn’t stop when you move to a senior living community. It continues, but in a new, refreshed, more convenient way. To ease the transition to a senior living community, keep in mind that it’s exactly that — a transition. Give yourself grace and emotional space when making this important adjustment.

Discover Compassionate Senior Living at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities

At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we’re committed to providing you or your loved one with personalized care so you can live a healthier, more purposeful life. Our senior living communities offer you or your loved one wellness and learning activities, social opportunities and high-quality care from our dedicated staff members.

Contact us today to learn more about our senior living options and explore how you or your loved one can live each day with meaning — right from the start.

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