Moving from your long-time home to a retirement community brings about a lot of change which can be difficult for many people. Leaving the place where many memories were created can bring up strong emotions, moving away from old friends or the thought of going to a new place may trigger feelings of uncertainty.
However, moving into a retirement community also means starting a new chapter of life—one that brings new opportunities for discovery with peers.
Benefits of living in a retirement community
If you’re moving from a private home or condo, you’ll leave behind the cares of maintaining or upgrading a home. No more worries about the roof or siding, appliance repair, lawn maintenance, sidewalk repairs, snow removal, and so many other expensive or time-consuming tasks.
Do you like to visit family and friends for long weekends or plan nice vacations? Forget security systems or asking neighbors to check on the house. Just close the door and go, knowing your home is secure.
Best of all, senior living enables you to age in place, safely and with dignity. There’s always staff around, programming is designed to keep seniors active and engaged, and the residences are built with older adults’ needs at the forefront.
If you’re an older adult considering the move, here are some things to keep in mind.
Getting familiar with senior residences
Visit several senior living communities to get a feeling for the type of environment or lifestyle best suits your preferences or needs. Some considerations are:
- Would you like senior housing with a range of services and programs?
- Would you like to open your apartment door every day to an array of activities?
- What about the amenities offered?
- While touring the communities, take a ride around the area as well so you have a good idea of where town services, stores, and restaurants are located.
- Ask if you can sample a meal in the dining room (where you’ll also have a chance to meet and chat with residents). If you have specific dietary needs, find out if those can be met.
Settling into your new home
When you move into your new home, place some favorite photos or special keepsakes in your apartment to help it feel more familiar (along with furniture pieces you’ve brought with you). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you might consider buying some new furniture to give your apartment a fresh look. Have fun with it!
Once you move in, make sure to try out some of the offerings so you get familiar with your new surroundings and get acquainted with your neighbors. Whether it’s a class, lecture, or movie night, participating in all that’s available will help you meet like-minded people with whom to share this life chapter. Staying open to new experiences will help you write a new story for yourself. Perhaps you will:
- Learn a new hobby or creative pursuit like painting, knitting, or poetry
- Engage in adult learning classes about new topics
- Join a book club or discussion group.
- Go on an outing to a place you’ve never visited before
Widen your social circle
Remember that you’ll be surrounded by new neighbors who will welcome you, and a support staff that’s eager to make you feel at home. Talk to your fellow residents about their experiences, the kinds of programs they enjoy, and give yourself time to acclimate to your surroundings and your new acquaintances—some of whom will soon become your friends. Many seniors find that when they establish those personal connections, they feel truly at home. That’s when the fun can really begin!
At the JCHC, our senior living communities offer older adults a variety of services, programs, and amenities—and many ways to write a new chapter that enriches their lives. Contact our team for information about independent living, assisted living, and memory care options in Essex County and Morris County, NJ.