Retirement communities offer many advantages for newly retired seniors, as they allow individuals to live independently while also being provided with a wide array of options regarding social events, activities, and the pursuit of hobbies. However, even though your loved ones may intellectually understand all of the reasons why a retirement community is a good choice for them, they may find it very difficult emotionally to adjust to living in a new place, especially if they are moving out of a home where they lived for a good portion of their lives. Luckily, there are some ways you can assist your loved one in making this adjustment.
After your loved one moves into their new home, the first order of business is helping them get oriented. Sit down with them to review the rules of the community, highlighting things such as meal times and activities of interest. Review the layout of the property as well in order to help them feel more secure in their surroundings.
Next, provide encouragement to your loved one. This is likely to be the first time in quite a while where they have been the new person in the room wanting to make new friends, and at first they may be reluctant to do so. Encourage your loved one to attend events of interest to them where they can meet like-minded individuals, and to be open to those new relationships. Additionally, make sure your loved one feels comfortable speaking to community staff members, as they will be able to assist whenever there are any questions or problems. Staff may even have tips to assist your loved one in the transition, as they have spent time with many others in the same situation.
You should also take steps to make sure that your loved one’s new living space feels like home. Whenever possible, use items such as rugs, furniture, and curtains from their previous home to decorate and bring a sense of familiarity to their new location. Hang up pictures of friends and family, and display mementos that have meaning for your loved one.
Finally, reassure your loved one that just because they have moved, it doesn’t mean they have to let go of the friends they already have, or assume they will visit with their family any less than they did before. Let them know how important it is to you to keep in the same close contact you have always enjoyed.