Moving to a senior living community can be the start of an exciting new chapter in life. It offers a maintenance-free lifestyle that gives residents freedom and flexibility to engage in favorite old hobbies and pursue new ones. You’ll have opportunities to participate in arts and crafts programs, a variety of fitness classes, and so much more. Residents also have plenty of chances to socialize informally with friends and neighbors.
We know the process of preparing for the move can be a little daunting. For seniors who have lived in their home for many years, it may be tough to figure out where and how to get started. Don’t let those concerns deter you from making a move that has so many advantages. Use the following tips for relocating to a senior living community to plan your move.
5 Tips for Making a Smooth Transition
- Set realistic goals for downsizing
For most seniors, this type of relocation means moving from a larger space to a smaller one. The longer you’ve lived in your home, the more challenging this part of the move can be. Deciding what to keep, what to sell, and what to donate takes time and patience. If possible, give yourself ample time to clean out the house and prepare for this move.
Relocation experts often suggest starting in rooms of the house that are used the least. Pack and label boxes according to their final destination, such as charitable donations, gifts for family members, and belongings you will be taking with you.
If you are struggling to manage this process, as many families do, it might help to enlist the services of a professional. Senior move managers have experience assisting older adults and their adult children with every detail of relocation. They can create a moving plan that includes everything from which moving company to hire to how to arrange for unneeded furniture to be donated to charity.
To learn more, read How Senior Move Managers Make Transitioning from Your Home Easier.
- Think about what you will really need
Depending on what type of apartment or suite you are moving to, there might be many items you just won’t need any longer. For example, if you’ve always welcomed the Christmas holidays with several festive trees, space might limit you to just one now. Or if housekeeping services are included, do you need a large vacuum and a handheld one? One or the other might suffice.
If you aren’t sure what you will and won’t need, talk with the team members at the community for advice. They can help you figure out which items to bring and those you can safely rehome. Remember, storage will likely be more limited. Keeping your apartment free from clutter means planning wisely.
- Create a floor plan for the new space
Another helpful tip is to ask the senior living community for a copy of the floor plan of your new apartment or suite. Make sure it includes dimensions and locations of windows and doorways. Once you’ve narrowed down which furniture you would like to take with you, measure each piece.
Then you can create a plan for where all the furniture, lamps, and even wall art will go. This approach will make moving day much easier to manage. It will also help you identify if you have to scale back on the items you bring. If you or an adult child is tech savvy, you can take advantage of free versions of room design sites, such as Floorplanner or 3Dream, to plot your new home.
- Make it feel like home
Leaving your home and moving to a senior living community can be exciting! But it’s also a big change. There will likely be bumps along the way. You might find yourself feeling homesick as you settle in. That’s okay and should be expected. One tip to make the transition a little easier is to fill your new place with your favorite old belongings. A comfy chair, a throw you’ve always used, and family photos are a few suggestions.
It may be tempting to swap old furniture for new or to purchase all new bedding and linens. Try to hold off on doing so, at least until you feel more at home. Being surrounded by things that look and feel familiar might help you settle in more quickly.
- Fill the apartment with light
If your apartment doesn’t get as much natural light as you are accustomed to, supplement it with your own. That may help keep you feeling positive as you are adjusting to your new home. Place tabletop and floor lamps around the rooms. Just be mindful of the cords so they don’t present a fall risk.
Mirrors are also good for reflecting light and making a space appear bigger. Place them strategically in darker locations or places where you want to reflect natural light back into the room.
Plants can brighten up a home too. Opt for low-maintenance greenery, such as pothos, jade plants, and peace lilies.
Plan Ahead for Moving Day
One final suggestion for making the transition less stressful is to create a solid plan for the day of the move. Where will you spend the day? Do you need to be present as the movers are working or can someone else handle that for you? It might be tough to watch your home being packed up into a moving van.
It’s also a good idea to pack a box or suitcase of essentials that you will take in your car instead of sending it with the movers. Items that should go in your moving-day box include:
- Pajamas, robe, and slippers
- Several full outfits of clothing
- Personal care necessities
- Medication and any needed medical supplies
- Important papers and insurance cards
- Coffee pot, filters, and coffee
- Toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels
- Snacks and bottled water
- Basic cleaning supplies
- Tape, scissors, and garbage bags
Consider a Clearwater Living Community
At Clearwater Living communities, we are committed to helping residents make a smooth transition. Our team members can help you plan your move, or we can assist you with finding an experienced, local senior move manager.
As you search for a community that best meets your needs, we invite you to visit and learn what makes Clearwater Living an industry leader and a favorite with residents and families alike!