6 ways to help ease the transition into independent senior living

More affordable living costs, lively community events, a vibrant social scene, gorgeous neighborhoods, 24/7 access to medical care—it’s no wonder so many seniors find themselves moving into independent senior living communities in their later years.

And if these aging options are right for you, making the decision to move to an independent senior living campus can indeed be life-changing.

But even still, the transition can be a tough one.

This guide will show you six ways to make that transition much smoother. And along the way, you’ll discover how to enjoy everything independent senior living communities have to offer.

Table of Contents

Choose the Right Community

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure a smooth transition into an independent senior living community is picking the right one.

The post-retirement years are often some of the happiest among senior citizens.

And if you choose the wrong one, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment later.

So, what does a great independent senior living home look like?

It should have:

  • Medical and healthcare options that match your needs
  • A lively social scene and plenty of regular fun events for residents
  • Consolidated living expenses (maintenance, housekeeping, meals, etc.)
  • Great facilities that offer a wide range of activities
  • A caring and experienced staff
  • Lots of fantastic reviews from past residents

Be sure to tour facilities in person if you can. That’ll give you a better idea of what life is really like day-to-day.

And don’t hold back on your questions along the way. This is a big transition for you, after all. The more informed you are, the better able you’ll be to find the right facility for you.

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2. Prepare Accordingly for Your Move-In

Seniors moving into Independent Senior LivingOnce you’ve decided on an independent senior living community, it’s time to start planning.

While independent senior living lets you make your new space entirely your own, you can’t bring everything with you.

And for many, that means it’s time to do a little bit of downsizing.

What are you going to take with you? What can you get rid of? And what might be better suited in the hands of other family members?

Be sure to coordinate closely with your new community.

Find out the exact dimensions of your new home, map out where you plan to put your belongings, and plan accordingly.

Making a move-in checklist before the big day can be a great way to stay organized.

3. Take Advantage of All the Perks of Independent Senior Living

The point of relocating is to simplify your day-to-day living. And the best communities will offer lots of different services to help you do just that.

Below are just a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting everything you can out of your independent senior living community.

  • Use the Housekeeping Services – Tired of deep cleaning your home and tackling maintenance projects yourself? Perfect. Because a senior independent living community will typically handle them both for you. It’s easier living to be sure!
  • Don’t Forget the Fine Dining – Though “independent” is the main draw for these communities, many will also offer regular meals included in your monthly costs. Take them up on the offer! You may be surprised just how tasty they can be.
  • Take the Community Transportation – Many communities offer transportation to and from shops and services in town. This lets residents forget about the hassle of driving themselves and even lets them get rid of their car entirely if they want (saving on costs).

4. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Seniors talking with one anotherAfter moving in, be sure to make an effort to get to know your neighbors and the community as a whole.

For many seniors, loneliness can be a serious problem, both for mental and bodily health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes.

It’s also associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

One of the best things about an independent senior living community is the potential to make new friends, be socially active, and stay healthy.

5. Stay Active (Both Socially & Physically)

Piggybacking off that last point, you’ll have lots of different daily events to keep you moving and motivated.

On the social end, many independent senior living communities regularly host:

  • Barbecues
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Card games
  • Bingo
  • Morning coffee groups
  • Happy hours
  • Movies
  • Kickball
  • Bowling
  • Group puzzles

They’ll also usually have libraries, movie rooms, game rooms, and more.

Staying physically active is also important as a senior. Many senior independent living communities will offer walking trails, exercise rooms, weight sets, pools, cardio classes, and more.

Be sure to ask about what kinds of events your prospective independent senior living community hosts each month. That’ll help give you an idea of how active the community as a whole will be.

6. Connect Regularly with Friends & Family

Last but certainly not least, be sure to make visits with your friends and family members a regular occasion, especially during your first few weeks after move-in.

The best part about an independent senior living community is your new home is entirely your own. And as such, most times friends and family can come and go as they please.

Invite old buddies over for a weekly movie or cards night. Sit down once a month for a puzzle with your extended family. Share a delicious meal with your children in the dining hall.

The choice is yours.

Try to keep events scheduled to help you plan ahead. And stay connected with those you love no matter what.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to acclimating to a senior independent living community.

Should I Move to a 55+ Community?

Deciding whether or not you should make the move can be tough. But in the end, if you’re struggling with any of the issues below, it’s likely in your best interest to do so.

  • Have trouble maintaining friendships or meeting new people
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like cooking or cleaning
  • Tired of managing complicated finances
  • Need regular medical care you cannot perform yourself
  • Are not as physically active as you should be
  • Lost interest in old hobbies or exploring new interests
  • Are at risk of falling or other injuries around the house

If any of these sounds like you, you should find a retirement living community with the level of care that’s appropriate for you.

What Is a Senior Independent Living Community?

A senior independent living community connects older-aged adults to the services and facilities they need to thrive without inhibiting their freedom and agency.

Homes are part of a larger campus, but each is a completely private residence, allowing occupants to make it fully their own.

An independent senior living community will usually offer home maintenance, housekeeping, meals, utilities, and other services all bundled into a single monthly cost. Campuses will also have a range of facilities like gyms, media rooms, pools, dining halls, and more.

Should the need arise, medical staff are usually on the campus to provide services 24/7.

Why Is Senior Living Independent?

Independence is one of the top concerns for seniors today.

Unlike some senior care options, independent senior living communities are more like a resort—residents can spend their day however they wish. They can lay by the pool, get in a good workout at the gym, socialize with friends in the community rooms, or head in town for a cultural excursion.

This approach to senior care allows for a richer day-to-day life while still letting seniors simplify their life while staying healthy.

What Is the Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living?

The biggest difference between independent and assisted living is the level of care residents receive.

In assisted living, residents have access to trained staff 24/7. These staff members can help with shopping and meal preparation, cleaning, medications, bathing, and more in case they need it.

Independent senior living communities, on the other hand, don’t offer that same level of care. Staff is available in case of emergencies. But when it comes to basic chores or medical/nursing support, residents are usually on their own.

Where Can I Find the Best Independent Senior Living Near Me?

Once you’ve decided an independent senior living community is the right choice, it’s time to find the community that’s perfect for you.

And that will take a bit of research.

While you’re searching, be sure to look for communities that offer:

  • The proper level of care for your unique needs
  • Plenty of attractive amenities
  • Services designed to make your day-to-day life easier and more enjoyable (home maintenance, daily meals, housekeeping, etc.)
  • Community and recreational events to keep you socially connected
  • And more

And if you’re looking for options in the St. Louis area, The Harbor at Cape Albeon is a gorgeous independent senior living community that meets all those needs and more.

At The Harbor, we take pride in offering a high-quality, amenity-rich, and socially active environment that’s consistently ranked among the best in the area.

So if you’re looking for a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable senior living community you’ll love being a part of, set up your tour with The Harbor today.

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