Moving from a lifelong home to a retirement home is a significant change. For example, our experienced team at Country Meadows of Allentown has helped many families over the years make successful transitions to their new homes. To assist your family, they’ve shared these helpful tips to make moving to a retirement home a positive experience.
Before the move:
Even though the decision to move to a retirement home was probably well-researched and thought through, the impending change in lifestyle can cause worry and apprehension. This is very normal. We find that it is best to acknowledge this anxiety by talking about it openly, and finding solutions to issues as they arise.
Be sensitive, yet practical
For many, moving to a retirement home means a significant downsizing and parting with or finding new homes for cherished belongings. Our Allentown team recommends asking for a floor plan with measurements from the retirement home staff and plan ahead to decide which possessions will be making the move. Find a way to identify the sentimental or heirloom items that must be left behind, and consider gifting them to family members or close friends so they may continue to be enjoyed.
Ask for help
There are many moving companies that specialize in helping seniors who are moving to a retirement home. Your contact at the community at the community can usually help to recommend a reputable company. If hiring a moving company is not economically feasible, lean on friends and family for help, or ask for assistance from your church or synagogue.
Look forward to what’s to come
Request an activities calendar and dining menu, and review the first two weeks’ events and meals. Having this on hand will give you or your loved one something to look forward to and take away some of the anxiety over the unknown.
Be prepared for the unexpected
No matter how well-orchestrated the move, it is possible that something may not go as planned—logistically or emotionally. If this happens, just recognize and address the issue as it occurs. The staff can be very helpful and may be able to provide additional resources like a hand truck, tools, or even a tissue.
Build extra time into the schedule
Once you arrive at your or your loved one’s new home, friendly neighbors or staff from the community will likely greet you. Plan extra time into the schedule for introductions. And, conversely, you or your loved one may find that she needs a little extra time to say goodbye to her old home, too.
Plan the next visit
Before your family leaves, plan for your next visit. Pick an activity, event or a mealtime. While you may need to run errands or attend appointments, be sure to include quality time together on campus so everyone can become acquainted with the staff and other residents of the community.
After the move:
Acknowledge that moving to a retirement home is a big change. The new lifestyle and environment may not be exactly as imagined. Adjustments may need to be made. Neighbors, staff and other family members can help.
It takes time to start a new routine, learn everyone’s name and remember where everything is. Give yourself or your family member time. And, when in doubt, just ask. You will be surprised how helpful and welcoming most communities are.
Above all, remember: you made this decision for a reason. Embrace the change and the benefits you were seeking. The new lifestyle should mean fewer burdens for you or your loved to manage, or sharing in the care and support with which you or your loved one was challenged.
At Country Meadows of Allentown and all our communities, our team assists all kinds of families through what can be a stressful change. So, while every situation is unique and presents its own set of circumstances and emotions, we have lot of experience and we can help guide you and your loved one through the transition to a retirement community.