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Transition Tips for Yourself

Make the move to retirement living a smooth one with these expert tips.

Are you thinking about the next chapter of your life? Great! After all, the first step to ensuring your transition to retirement living goes smoothly is to be prepared.

Of course, there’s still a lot to think about when it comes to choosing an Independent Living community. To help you ensure you make the right decision for your future, we’ve put together these five step-by-step tips:

Start talking – and thinking

When it comes to retirement communities, there’s a lot to consider – including your needs, budget and lifestyle. To help make the right decisions, discuss your expectations with family and loved ones – because chances are, they’re already thinking about it, too! In fact, according to recent research by the AARP, more than 75 percent of children with parents reaching retirement age have already considered their parents’ independent living options,* even if they’ve never talked about it before.

Next, create a prioritized “wish list” for what your dream community will offer. This will help you determine what retirement lifestyle you want – and don’t want – and make it easier to select potential communities. Make sure to consider the importance of location, amenities and activities. For example, do you want a community with specific programs, such as veterans’ assistance or volunteer opportunities? Now’s the time to identify those desires.

Can we talk? Families Discuss Old Parents’ Abilities to Live Independently…Or Do They?, (AARP, 2001)

Research your options

Once you’ve developed a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a retirement community, gather a list of communities that meet your needs and wants. This is a great time to enlist your family to help you research – and to start aligning your “wish list” with your budget.

At this stage, it’s best to identify three to five communities – this will give you enough variety to make a good decision, but also keep the process manageable when it comes to site visits and tours.

Don’t just visit – live it

While a facility tour is a great way to see what your potential new home has to offer, it’s just the start. In addition to checking out the grounds and model units, try getting into the swing of life in a community by registering for a class or attending a lecture or event.

Even simple things – like eating lunch onsite or taking the community’s transportation system for a spin – can tell you a lot about living there. And the more you do to imagine your new life, the more confident you’ll be about your decision.

Stay awhile

Done with your site visits? You’re almost there. Now it’s time for an overnight or trial of the community you’re most interested in. This will give you time to connect with residents and talk to them about their experiences. Ask residents questions like:

· What do you like about this community?

· Are there any concerns I should be aware of before moving in?

· How was your transition? Any tips?

If a trial stay isn’t an option, be sure to stop by again to say hello to the people you met on your initial visits. Building friendships with residents and staff before you move in will make you feel more at home once you transition.

Plan for a healthy financial future

Before you transition, make sure you’ve done your financial homework and feel comfortable about your finances once you’ve moved in. If you have questions about budgeting for your future, consider getting professional help.

If your family members are helping to finance your move, talk to them openly. Make sure everyone is on the same page about costs, budgets and contributions – and is comfortable with the arrangement. By discussing the specifics now, you’ll not only feel more confident that everything’s taken care of, but you’ll also avoid unnecessary stress.

Ready to get started on your transition? Holiday Retirement is here to help. Take a look at some of our other resources in our Retirement 101 section, or contact us for help in finding the right community for your needs.

Before the move

· Check your paperwork. Make sure all forms are completed and costs are paid, and check that you have copies and receipts.

· Make a list. Actually, make two: one for must-take items and one for want-to-take items. Must-takes include items that are essential to living comfortably, while the want-to-take list should include non-essential items that have emotional, decorative or other important qualities you value.

· Measure each new room. Select furniture pieces that will fit best in that space. Visit the Our Communities page and select your community to see specific floor plans.

· Take photos of each room before packing items, then use the photos later so that as you unpack items you have a guide for replicating your loved one’s original home.

· Set small goals. Pack one room at a time. Start in one room and finish packing it before moving onto another room. You’ll feel a sense of progress, and will be sure not to miss anything.

· Find local senior moving resources. They'll reduce your stress and make the move much easier. Ask the Holiday Retirement community you’re moving into or the local chamber of commerce for a list of local resources.

· Organize your new home. You can increase your comfort by setting up the living space in your Holiday Retirement apartment as close to the way it was in your previous home, starting with the bedroom and unpacking clothing first. (Take photos of each room before packing, and take the photos with you as a guide for unpacking.)

· Double-check safety equipment. We always test the call system and hand rails in each apartment prior to a resident moving in, but test them yourself as well to make sure you’re comfortable with them.

· Learn your new home. Know how to operate all the necessities (call system, telephone, thermostat, kitchen appliances, sink, shower, door locks, elevator, etc). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your Community Managers.

· Consider renter’s insurance. While it’s not required, renter’s insurance can give you added peace of mind and protection for your belongings.

After the move

· Provide your family with contact information. Make sure they have the names of the managers or administrators at your Holiday Retirement community, as well as a back-up contact in case of an emergency.

· Let yourself adjust. Your move is a major change and it will take some time for you to adapt. If you don’t feel right at home right away, don’t worry – you will soon.

· Introduce your family. Bring your family members to your new home during the first few weeks. They’re welcome to join you for a meal anytime you like. You can also enjoy the same family activities that you did in your previous home, like playing games, reading or crafting, or introduce them to one of the new activities you’ve discovered here.

· Attend an event. Invite your family and friends to community activities and events, and introduce them to your new friends. You’ll discover at Holiday we like to welcome our new residents with a special party in our private dining rooms so that you can show off your new home to friends and family.

· Get to know the staff They will become your extended family, so fill them in on your life, loved ones, likes and dislikes and any other information they can use to enhance your Holiday experience.