6 Tips for a Smoother Transition into Retirement Living
Friday Aug 02nd, 2019
Leaving the family home and moving into a retirement community or assisted living environment can have its overwhelming moments. Whether you yourself are embarking on this next chapter or have a loved one that is, you know just how many decisions and details need attention. And even if the move is spurred by choice and not circumstance, it’s normal to feel some level of anxiety. After all, there is much uncertainty that comes with transitioning to retirement living – it’s a big life change.
Being prepared will make it easier to transition into this next chapter of life. Here are six suggestions to ensure a more positive experience.
1. Take time to downsize
It takes a lifetime to accumulate belongings – and letting go of these items requires time too. Families often feel like they have to race against the clock when helping a loved one downsize, but that doesn’t always honour a senior’s need to process such a big change. Allow time to vet through belongings to decide what will come to the new residence and what can be passed on to family, sold at an estate or garage sale, or donated to a local charity. Also, set aside time for reminiscing over cherished mementos and heirlooms – it can make the tiresome downsizing process more meaningful for those involved.
2. Work with an Accredited Senior Agent (ASA)
When transitioning into a retirement community, you’ll want the expertise of a real estate sales professional with an ASA designation. This type of specially trained realtor does more than just help people buy and sell homes. They have the expertise to understand the special needs of senior clients to help them (and their families) make sound choices for the future, whether it be moving into a retirement residence, opting for a smaller home or making alterations to age-in-place. An ASA can also connect seniors to trusted professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, who specialize in tax and inheritance law, and to senior move managers who handle the logistics of a downsize.
3. Ease into activities before moving day
Many retirement communities will let residents get involved with activities prior to moving in. This is a great way to meet new neighbours or sign up for groups and events, so you have something to look forward to once settled in. Moving and making friends is difficult at any age, but even more so for seniors. Making connections prior to move-in day can also fight feelings of loneliness and isolation, plus other residents can share their positive transition experiences.
4. Have a plan in place for moving day
Designating a family member or hiring a senior move manager to oversee the action of moving day can make for a smoother transition. With one main point of contact, there will be less confusion and a more direct course of action. Another great tip is to have an “Open First” box, containing necessities, such as cleaning supplies, a coffee pot with grounds and filters, scissors, pen and paper, etc. Be sure to keep medications, toiletries and valuables close at hand in a personal suitcase for easy access throughout the move.
5. Make it look like home
Having a new home that looks and feels familiar will be easier to feel settled in. Decorate your space with familiar furnishings, art, pictures and mementos or treat yourself to new pieces that suit your current lifestyle. If you have a favourite reading chair or a spot to watch the television, focus on getting that area set-up so you can relax after the move.
6. Schedule visits with family and friends
While living in a retirement community offers a plethora of activities and social opportunities, having regularly scheduled visits from friends and family is a great way to ease everyone into this new living arrangement. Being able to look forward to seeing familiar faces will make the transition much easier.
Whether you are moving into a retirement community or you are helping a senior loved one, being as prepared and proactive in the weeks leading up to the transition can relieve a great deal of stress and anxiety from the situation.
To learn more about my role as an Accredited Senior Agent and how it benefits my clients as they embark in late-in-life transitions, please contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative and ASA at Keller Williams Realty Solutions, Brokerage, to discuss.