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Being new at an independent senior living community can feel a bit intimidating. It’s natural to be a little unsure of yourself as you navigate an unfamiliar living situation. We’ve put together 10 tips that can help ease this transition.

1. Take Advantage of Our Resident Ambassador Program

Holiday Retirement independent living communities’ resident ambassadors are here to help you. These volunteers welcome new residents into Holiday’s senior living communities, show them the ropes, and help them feel at home. They’ve been there. They know what you’re going through. 

Your senior living community’s resident ambassadors will introduce you to other residents, make you feel welcome during meal times, show you around the senior living campus, provide first-hand insight into community activities and experiences, and answer all of your questions. 

2. Connect With Your Resident Experience Coordinator

Your Resident Experience Coordinator is like the hub of your new community. They’re dedicated to helping Holiday Retirement community residents in a variety of ways, from planning and running activities, to helping with technology questions. They work tirelessly to plan community experiences that are physically, intellectually, and socially fulfilling. Your Resident Experience Coordinator can answer your questions, from what time lunch is served to what onsite activities match your interests. They’d love to get to know you better and are always up for a chat.

3. Say Hello to Your Neighbors

Our residents love meeting new people. Most Holiday Retirement residents say their neighbors become like family members. Your neighbors are great people to count on for a laugh, or to lend a hand when you need one. They can also introduce you to their friends, which helps your circle of friends grow. Get out and get to know the people in your hall. When you see someone, stop to introduce yourself. Before you know it, you’ll have tons of chums.

4. Make Your Apartment Feel Homey

Make your new space your own by decorating it in a way that feels welcoming and comforting to you. It doesn’t have to be a major makeover. Just adding some family heirlooms, photos of your family, or a plant or two can do wonders for the feel of a place. If you’re stuck on ideas, try asking your neighbors for advice, which is also a great way to make friends. Looking for more inspiration? Check out these tips for personalizing your living space.

5. Go Out to Lunch (in a Bunch)

Food brings people together and connects us. Meals in Holiday Retirement’s restaurant-style dining rooms are a wonderful way to meet your neighbors, but another fun option is a dining outing with fellow foodies. Many Holiday independent living communities have a “Lunch Bunch,” which brings fans of good food together for regular excursions to local eateries via complimentary transportation. Ask your Resident Ambassador or Resident Experience Coordinator about the next Lunch Bunch gathering.

6. Become Active in an Event or Club

Being social isn’t just a great way to make friends, it’s also important for your physical and mental health. Research shows that engaging with other people can help lower the risk of age-related disorders, increase quality of life, improve memory, and mitigate depression.

Every Holiday Retirement community has a selection of carefully planned activities that appeal to all types of interests. Activities are intended to enhance residents’ physical, emotional, mental, and social wellness. Check your local events calendar for activities like bean bag baseball, happy hour, and chair yoga. Try out a fitness class, or join the Walking Club or Gardening Club. Many of our communities have volunteer opportunities that connect you with  the surrounding area and expand your circle of friends. Giving back is great for your physical and mental health.

7. Have a Housewarming Party

Even if you don’t feel very festive during this time, having a little celebration can be a positive act that lifts your spirits. It doesn’t need to be big. Invite some family members and a few neighbors. Make it as small or elaborate as you want. Your housewarming party could be anything from a plate of cookies and punch,  to appetizers, wine, and activities. You can even provide a quick tour of your new digs and then have everyone gather in your retirement community's private dining room for festivities. 


8. Make a Gratitude List

It’s normal for thoughts to center around what you’ve left behind during a big change. Downsizing might have meant getting rid of some beloved items. You may miss the comfort of a neighborhood and house you lived in for many years. The truth is that in time you’ll likely find the gains of this transition balance the losses. In the meantime, attention to positive aspects can keep you from getting stuck in a negative cycle of thoughts.

Research links gratitude to better health, resilience, good mood, and fulfilling relationships. Try making a list of all of the positive things that came with this move. For instance, maybe you have more time to focus on hobbies since daily details like cooking, cleaning, and maintenance are all taken care of. Perhaps you’re experiencing more peace of mind living in a safe place where a community of people and emergency response plans can help in urgent situations. It doesn’t have to be huge. Gratitude can be as small as feeling thankful for the view of the flower garden outside your window.  

9. Reach Out for Support

There’s no reason to go it alone. While so many of our Holiday residents say they wish they’d moved into our independent living communities sooner, most people experience a time of mixed emotions and apprehension in the beginning, and that’s okay. Lean on your loved ones, your resident ambassadors, and retirement community staff. You’ll make new friends and feel right at home before you know it. Don’t be shy about asking family and friends to visit during this time. Our independent living communities also have regular events that families can attend. 

10. Give Yourself Time

Any type of big transition like moving to a senior living community takes time to become the new normal. One survey of UK homebuyers found that it might take up to four months for a new home to really feel like “home.” The time it takes is different for everyone. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. It will happen. Give yourself permission to feel all the different emotions that come with this transition. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have the perfect experience right away or feel discouraged if you don’t find a close group of friends the first week. You’ll get there. 

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