After all the hard work of planning, narrowing down choices and making the big move, you’re finally settled into your new senior living community. Your family helped you move in. They’ve called almost every day. You’ve met a handful of new people. But community life is still very new—and you wonder how long it will take before you start to feel at home.
This scenario is more common than you might think among older adults who make the move to senior living.
While the relocation process can be exciting, after the hustle and bustle of moving day ends, new residents can feel unsure what to do next or how to integrate into their new community. No matter how old we get, huge changes in our lifestyles inevitably come with an adjustment period.
If your recent move to senior living has you feeling a bit out of place, don’t worry! You didn’t make a mistake—it just sometimes takes time to adjust to a new way of living. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to shorten that adjustment period and start feeling at home:
● Make Your Place Your Own – Decorate your new apartment or cottage-home in a style that reflects your personality and preferences. Whether you fill your space with lifelong treasures from your previous home or use the opportunity to try something different, taking over your private space can help you feel more comfortable and at home.
● Set Goals – If you’re overwhelmed by the options available at your community, set small goals to try something new each day. Maybe you want to experience a variety of clubs or programs. Grab the programming calendar and mark the dates you plan to attend. Or establish a goal to try out every fun amenity by the end of the month, scheduling an hour at the spa one week and signing up for a fitness class the next.
● Host a Housewarming Party – Sometimes we have to make the first move when getting to know new neighbors. Host a housewarming party in your home and invite everyone you’ve met so far at the community, or even those you’ve only waved to in passing. Invite your family members and friends as well, so they can check out your new place and help you feel at ease with familiar faces nearby.
● Find Ways to Contribute – If you notice something missing from your lifestyle, maybe you can make it happen! Talk to the community’s program director and determine how to start a club that focuses on your interests, such as a fishing club or book club. Perhaps you’re passionate about sharing your gifts and want to teach a special class for fellow residents. Or if you love to serve, find out where there’s a need for volunteers and get involved with a special cause. Not only will these opportunities help you meet new people, but they’ll also assist you in feeling as if you belong within your community.
Do you have other ideas on how to make senior living feel like home? Share them with us or reach out for more suggestions on adjusting to your new lifestyle!
Regional Director of Sales, Marketing & Business Development
Diakon Senior Living Services