Moving to independent living can be your next great adventure, but any change requires some adjustment. Relocating, arranging your belongings in a new space, meeting new people, and adopting a new routine — it’s a big deal, especially if you’ve lived in one home for many years. Whether you’re the one moving, or you’re helping a loved one get settled in an independent living community, follow these tips for a smooth transition.
1. Downsize Your Belongings Thoughtfully
Moving to an independent living apartment usually means downsizing somewhat. While you will bring your own furnishings and decor to the new apartment, even a spacious floor plan may not be enough for everything. Besides, moving is a chance for a fresh start, and you may not want certain things anymore. For example, if you’re moving to a senior community in Florida from someplace up north, you can rid yourself of many coats and sweaters!
Make sure to keep key items that mean the most, to ensure that you feel at home in your new apartment. Getting rid of items you’ve had for a long time can bring up a lot of emotions and lead to difficult decisions. If possible, start thinking about downsizing well in advance. Consider giving cherished belongings to friends or family members who will appreciate their significance. Also look for opportunities to donate things like furniture or small appliances where someone truly in need can access them.
2. If You Can, Take an Active Role in the Move to Independent Living
When moving day arrives, you may feel more in control of your destiny if you drive your own car with a few of your most special belongings inside, and even help to arrange things in the new apartment. It’s important that things are arranged in a way that makes you feel at ease and at home. Naturally, not everyone has the physical ability to take part in a major move, but there are many ways to convey your wishes. You might simply draw on a sheet of paper where you would like your pictures hung. If you have a family member helping you move, make sure they understand any instructions that you need help communicating to the movers.
3. Get Familiar With the Schedule of Activities
Moving in is only the first step. Next, you will have a chance to participate in your senior community’s activities. Getting involved will help you stay active, meet new people, continue to pursue your interests, and even discover new ones. Check to see if there’s a printed schedule of upcoming activities or something available online. You might find anything from art classes, to book clubs, to off-campus outings. Decide what you would like to try and start making plans!
4. Ask Other Residents for Their Best Tips
Residents at a senior community are generally very welcoming and eager to meet new people. Those who have lived there for a while might have suggestions about the best dishes on the restaurant menus, the most fun exercise classes, or the best place to relax outdoors on the grounds. Asking for their input not only gives you valuable insights, but can let you start getting to know your neighbors and find out who shares some of your interests.
5. Share Your Talents With Your Senior Community
Whatever you’ve done in your life, whether as a career or hobby, you certainly know things that others would like to learn. If your independent living community encourages it (as Aviva definitely does), consider giving a lecture, teaching a class, or giving a performance of your artistic talent to your fellow residents. If you prefer more of a one-on-one experience, maybe there’s another resident who just wants to get together and practice speaking French or needs a few golf tips.
6. Invite Friends and Family to Visit
Visits from friends and family always brighten the day, and can be especially important when you’re first getting settled in a new home. When you live in independent living, you can invite guests over to catch up and tell them all about the fun new things you’re doing. Just make sure to stay current with your community’s rules for visitors with regard to COVID-19.
Choose the Right Senior Community for You
The smoothest adjustment begins with choosing the right independent living community in the first place. Social worker Kim Warchol, an expert in transitioning seniors to different levels of care says, “Adjustment issues are typically less frequent and less severe when [seniors] love where they are living and have been made to feel that they are still the people they have always been.” To discover whether Aviva is the right place for your next adventure, schedule a tour. Or speak to one of our senior living specialists at 941.225.8369.