It can be difficult and even a bit frightening to move into an independent living home after being in your own house for so many years. You knew your neighbors, how long it took to get to the grocery store from your house and when the local park would be filled with children. You now have a new life in a new place, and you want to make the most of this experience.
Bring Along the Memories
Instead of trying to erase them or hide them, bring along the memories from your past. You may have to downsize before moving into a retirement community, but you can always keep the things that matter most. Add tangible reminders in the form of a photo album or special mementos. As you look at these items, you’ll smile at the memories. They can also help keep you from feeling so lonely when you think about the good times in your past and how rich your life has been.
Decorate Your Way
While you have a new place to live, you can decorate it to remind you of your former home. Some well-meaning adult children think now is the time to buy new stuff to go in a new home. However, it’s also good to include items from your previous house to make this space feel more familiar and welcoming. Hang pictures that are special and display decorations that were used in your house. This is an important step for anyone, but it’s especially critical for anyone who suffers from dementia.
Meet Your Neighbors
Even though you’ve moved from your old neighborhood where you knew everyone, you can make new friends again. Visit others in your independent living community. Attend the special events that most of these communities provide. Don’t be afraid to go up to someone and start a new conversation. It may take a while, but you’ll meet some interesting people and make some new friends.
Sometimes you may have to step out of your comfort zone and be the one to initiate conversation. You can ask “How long have you lived here?” or “What do you like most about this community?” Questions like that get them to talk and help you learn more about your new home.
Do Something New
When you move into a new independent living community, you’re beginning a new phase in life. Now is a wonderful time to try something new. Pick up a new hobby, take a class or try a new restaurant near where you live. While it can be scary to do something you’ve never done, it also brings an excitement to your life that you may not have felt in a while. You’ll have something to look forward to as you adjust to your new surroundings and schedule.
Look at this move as an opportunity to build a new life for yourself. While it can be difficult to let go of the past, your life isn’t over – it’s just changing. Find ways to have fun and enjoy life in this stage and in your new home.
g in place, helps people stay in their homes for longer. However, it’s not always the right choice for every senior. It’s best to compare the two before making a decision.