Loving Senior Living: How to Get the Most of Your Retirement Community
One Day at a Time – Be Patient with Yourself
Moving at any time of life whether it was into a college dormitory, your first home, or settling into a new retirement community is a big change. It’s important to take time for yourself throughout the process. Sometimes emotions can run high during this time. All kinds of feelings may arise as we unpack favorite belongings, photos, and family treasures. It’s important to recognize your feelings and if they overwhelm you reach out to family and friends. Again, be patient with yourself and take it one day at a time.
Now’s the Time to Get Social
After you’ve unpacked and gotten your new home in order, it’s time to get social! Most retirement communities have a concierge or an activity and lifestyle calendar that is filled with activities and events for a wide variety of interests. Depending on your community there may be outdoor barbeques, wine and cheese tastings, movie nights, ice cream socials, and other activities. Here’s a few tips for making new friends at your retirement community.
- Check out your retirement community’s activity calendar. Sign up for an activity that you really love doing and that interests you. Consider signing up for an activity that’s entirely new to you, or that you’ve always wanted to try. Embrace being a beginner and have fun learning something new. Laughing and enjoying yourself is a sure-fire way to make friends.
- Take your pet for a walk. If your community allows for pets, now’s the time introduce your furry friend to the community. Having a pet can be a great ice-breaker.
- Find out who’s new in the community. It’s almost certain there are other new community members that have moved in at the same time. You can learn about the community together and join in activities as a team.
- Be social. This may be easier said than done. For some of us being social or outgoing may not come easy. If this is the case have a few simple questions at the ready to ease social anxiety. Write them down if need be. Asking someone where there from, or how long they lived at the community may be all you need to start a lifelong friendship.
Time to Meet Your Neighbors
Senior living communities have so many benefits. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of living in a retirement community is that you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals. Your neighbors know what it’s like moving in to a new community and they may have insider knowledge to tips and tricks than can ease the transition.
Establish a Routine and Make Healthy Goals
With a new move, your usual routine may be disrupted. Once you’ve unpacked and gotten familiar with the community, establish a routine that promotes healthy goals and is supportive of your new life. A routine can help you use your time more efficiently too. You may find you’re even busier now, so being organized and establishing a routine is essential for health and mental wellness. It may be even easier in your new retirement community to start healthy habits. Start a routine of working out, every morning or begin the day with a healthy breakfast.
The key to success when establishing a new routine is to set small realistic goals. When you first view that activity calendar it may be tempting to sign up for everything. Try to pace yourself and leave room for down time.
Join a Group for More Good Times
Joining a group is another excellent way to get the most out of your retirement community. Groups can help you expand your social circle. Retirement communities have numerous spiritual, social, volunteer, and activity groups. Join a walking group, bird watching or fitness group, the opportunities are almost endless. Check with your neighbors for recommendations. They may even join you!
Invite Loved Ones Over
Boxes have been unpacked; you’re all settled in and have signed up for activities. Now’s the time to invite family and friends over to visit. Inviting loved ones has two purposes. One is to show off your new home and all the fantastic amenities and services your senior community offers. Having friends and family over can be an additional way to meet new people as you stroll through your community with grandkids and family in tow.
Get the Most Out of Your Retirement
Moving into a new senior community may take some adjustments. Schedules may change, food choices may be different and old routines may need to be adjusted. If you can embrace the move with flexibility, an open mind, and a good dose of humor you’ll settle in quick, leaving you more time to make friends.