Lost in Transition: Top Tips for Settling in at a Retirement Residence

in Independent Living

Written by PARC Retirement Living

The big decision has been made and you’re moving into a retirement residence. Welcome to the next exciting chapter of your life. You have a new neighbourhood to explore, new people to meet and a wide range of activities to choose from.

Two residents chatting over tea

And while you’re looking forward to enjoying the services and amenities that your residence has to offer, you likely can’t help but feel a bit nervous about acclimatizing to a new environment and meeting new faces. Know that it’s perfectly natural to feel this way. With a positive mindset, a bit of patience and a curious spirit, you don’t have to feel lost during the transition.

Silvia Moutinho, Resident Services Manager at Mulberry PARC offers this advice: “Keep an open mind. It’s a change in lifestyle but there are so many choices available to you. The more you take part, the better it is.”

Here are a few more tips to make the transition to a retirement residence positive and seamless:

Make the most of orientation

When you move in, you’ll have plenty of support. You’ll receive an orientation from the Resident Services Manager to get you acquainted in your new home. The Resident Services Manager will run you through all the building’s amenities, talk to you about the daily programming, dining times and more. This is a great time to ask any questions you may have or communicate any nervousness you may be feeling.

Lean on the welcome committee

The welcome committee is made up of residents who have lived in the community for some time. They welcome you to your residence with open arms and give you the inside scoop on all the ins and outs of life at the residence. Lean on them to help you get acquainted in your new home. Sit with them at lunch and dinner. They’re here to welcome you and support you.

Two residents pouring tea

Attend new resident meetings

New resident meetings are typically held monthly and are a great way to review the topics covered in your orientation if you’ve forgotten. It’s also another way to connect with new residents and chat with members of the welcome committee. You’re sure to meet other residents who have the same interests and hobbies.

Join activities and programs that interest you

Take advantage of all the programming available to you at your residence. From cribbage, billiards, arts and crafts to fitness and recreational outings, there is plenty to do and explore! Participating in a variety of activities helps you meet others who share similar interests and provides an easy, natural way to start a conversation.

Group of residents outside pole walking

Decorate and personalize your space

Make your suite feel like home. Put up photographs of family and friends, display art and trinkets that you love, drape that cozy throw over your sofa – whatever makes your suite feel like your sanctuary.

Related: Tips for Decorating Your New Suite

Stay positive and patient

For some, the move into a retirement residence is seamless and they have no problem jumping right in, getting involved and meeting new people. For others, it takes some time to warm up and feel truly settled. Everyone’s different and feeling settled can take weeks to months. Know that there isn’t a specific timeline and that it’s important to stay positive and patient during this transition process. You chose this lifestyle for a reason. Upon reflection, many of our residents wished they moved in sooner; sons and daughters are comforted to see that their parents are thriving. Know that the future is bright.