Making the Move to a Senior Living Community
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Moving to a senior living community is a big step, so it’s natural to feel nervous. You might worry about having to downsize, for example, or feel anxious about leaving your familiar surroundings to live in a new environment.
While moving can be stressful, it can also be exciting. Moving to a new location presents opportunities to meet new people, see new sites and enjoy a range of services and amenities. Moving to a senior living community also means your family will worry less about your safety and well-being.
To take some of the worry out of moving, it helps to learn all you can about senior living communities, recognize the stresses and benefits of moving to such a community, and pick up expert tips about making the move.
What to Expect and How to Deal with It
Where will you go?
The first step in making the move to a senior living community is to decide which type of community is most appropriate for your needs. Assisted living provides health- and personal care, housekeeping and prepared meals as needed. Memory care may be right for anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other types of memory impairment. Having a one-on-one conversation with a senior living community representative can help you decide which community is right for you or for your relatives, family or friends.
Moving is stressful for people of any age, but especially for older adults. There is even a name for it – relocation stress syndrome. Symptoms of relocation stress syndrome include anxiety, confusion, hopelessness and loneliness. Older adults and their families can reduce the stress of moving by watching for signs of relocation stress syndrome and by working as a team to make the move go as smoothly as possible. Moving to a top-notch senior living community, one that offers a wide variety of amenities and promotes emotional and physical well-being for all residents, helps reduce many of the stresses associated with moving to a senior living community.
Packing and moving
Packing and moving is a lot of work, especially when downsizing. Deciding what to keep, what to give away and what to throw out can be intimidating. Begin by making a list of people or organizations that can benefit from your downsizing; contact each and ask them to pick up the items they would like to purchase or receive.
Create a packing and moving schedule. Try to schedule as much time as possible, as moving can take more time than you realize. Moving can also be physically and emotionally exhausting. Commit to doing a certain amount of packing or moving on each of the scheduled work days.
Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors. Ask them to commit to specific days and times; add their names to the schedule.
Try sorting and packing up one room, or one section of a room, at a time. Make three piles: keep, give away and throw out. Use the “only touch it once” rule when sorting items. Once you put an item in a pile, resist the urge to pick it up again.
New places and new faces
Many older adults worry they will have trouble adapting to their new surroundings. A few might worry about feeling unsafe in a foreign environment. Others may feel like they are leaving their friends, neighbors, church and clubs behind. Fortunately, senior living communities provide comfortable, safe surroundings and an opportunity to meet new friends.
The living spaces in these communities are designed for maximum comfort, functional ease and safety of older adults. Floor plans provide comfortable living spaces with all the safety features and amenities of home without all the work of installing shower bars, ramps and more.
Moving to a senior living community can greatly expand social circles while providing a nice space to entertain current relationships. Taking up residence in a senior living community provides an opportunity to meet like-minded people you would have never otherwise had a chance to meet. High quality senior living communities offer private dining areas residents can reserve for get-togethers with family and friends.
What Should I Look for in a Senior Living Community?
Where you live is important, so it is essential to find a senior living community that fits your needs and your lifestyle.
Your new home should offer a wide variety of the amenities and services you currently enjoy, such as a library, movie room and multidenominational religious services.
If you enjoy entertaining guests, look for a community with a private dining room you can reserve for special gatherings at the holidays or any time of the year. The relaxed intimacy of a shared meal with friends and family always enriches life, in any residential setting.
Are you an outdoors person or exercise buff? Look for a senior living community that sports outdoor seating areas or fully equipped gym.
Looking your best is always important, but traveling to the other end of town to get your hair done can be a real pain. Consider moving to a senior living community that has a beauty salon and barbershop on-site.
Opt for a senior living community that offers floor styles to match your lifestyle. You may choose from studio apartments, companion suites and one-bedroom units, depending on your personal needs.
Benefits of Moving to a Senior Living Community
Senior living communities combine security with independence. Freed from home maintenance and repairs, residents can turn their attention to the more important things in life, such as spending time with family or engaging in their favorite hobbies.
Living in one of these communities can help make managing care in the community easier. Trained professionals can assist in medication management, arranging visits to doctor offices and overseeing therapy.
Senior living communities often provide convenient access to on-site activities, senior organizations, volunteerism and other socializing activities, and transportation to off-site events and attractions. This is important to anyone who no longer drives.
Moving to a senior living community also gives an older adult a chance to enjoy well-balanced, delicious meals without all the hassle of cooking and cleanup.
Senior living communities provide safe and secure place to live, so you will never have to worry about being a burden to your family. Most importantly, senior living communities provide exceptional care and companionship, for optimal health and well-being.