It’s moving day. Moving to a Retirement Community can be tough. Movers are unloading the truck, family or professionals are helping you unpack and get the boxes out of the apartment. Somehow, the boxes seemed to have tripled in volume from your last home and you are questioning where to put everything and how it will all fit! Of course, you are focused on getting from point A to point B, but there are other considerations which will help with your transition.
We tell our clients to leave the door open on move and unpack day. Your neighbors will poke their head in to welcome you and in some cases, ask you to dinner that very night. Keep a piece of paper handy to write names and apartment numbers down because move day will be a blur. Kindly postpone the dinner invite because guaranteed you will be exhausted and will have more energy in a few days. However, don’t just say maybe later in the week, set a date.
Ann moved into a retirement community and was a bundle of energy. One of those people everyone likes and is drawn to and who you know just embraces every opportunity and life itself. A week after she moved in, she slid an invite under everyone’s door in her hallway inviting them over for a glass of wine on Friday night. The invitation was simple and just read, “I’m new here and would love to welcome you to my new apartment. Please join me for a glass of wine….” She was unpacked enough so the boxes were gone, but the artwork had not all been hung but who cares? She felt it more important to start reaching out to others, hear more about the community and activities and get involved.
When Deb and I walk the corridors of a retirement community we are often at, it is the client who is involved that seems to be the happiest with their decision. I ran into one of those clients recently, and she commented, “I have been to the symphony and the flower show this week and next week I am going to an art class. I have met lots of interesting people from all over.”
Isolation is a concern for senior health, and there are numerous studies on how it can impact mental and physical health. Senior isolation however does not need to be inevitable. Like anything in life, it may take effort and courage to get out there but you will find the benefits to be lasting.
If it’s not there, make it happen
Many of the retirement communities have so many activities or are even open to you creating your own group. My Dad just moved into a community in Maine and loves to play cribbage. It is a smaller community with a few activities a week but not a plethora of events like a cruise ship. So, he started a cribbage club for those that played or wanted to learn to play. They meet once a week at the main Inn and enjoy the camaraderie and social interaction as much as the cribbage.
If your community doesn’t have an activity on site, they often have shuttles to the local Y, shopping malls and other locations. Even a shuttle ride, gives you the opportunity to meet someone.
Embrace your new transition as much as possible.