Tips for Planning a Move to a Retirement Community

Moving is difficult no matter what age you are. The weeks leading up to the move can bring a rollercoaster of emotions. Sorting through closets, packing, and cleaning can be mentally and physically exhausting. While a new adventure might be exciting, the change and uncertainty that often comes along with moving can be more difficult to process for older adults.

For seniors, the move from their family home to a retirement community can be especially difficult. This generation has lived in the same home for decades, and their home may symbolize a lifetime of happy memories spent with their family. Keeping this in mind, here are some tips to help your family member, friend or loved one make the move to a retirement community.


Tips for Making the move to a Retirement Community

  1. Prepare and Research best practices for downsizing: Families often struggle to figure out the best way to downsize a senior loved one’s home. It can make the weeks and months leading up to a move more stressful than is necessary. Try researching online and asking friends for any advice they may have. Or look for small community organizations (Downsizing Diva, for example) that can come and share their expertise in downsizing and take a bit of the pressure off of you. They will measure up the new space and work with you and your family member or friend in choosing what to take and deciding what to leave behind. They will then move the furniture and set up the new space well ahead of time so you can pop in afterwards and put the finishing touches on.
  2. Recreate their familiar environment: Make it home away from home, as best you can. While it might be tempting to sell your loved one’s old furniture and start fresh, they’ll likely settle in more quickly if their new environment looks and feels more like home. Make sure the furniture and household belongings they treasure most find a place in their new assisted living apartment.
  3. Start getting involved: Don’t wait until after your family member moves to encourage them to get involved in their new senior living community. In most cases, participating in life enrichment activities and community events before moving day is a better approach. Also ask the staff about periodically coming by for lunch or dinner so your loved one can meet and get to know fellow residents. This can also help ease their anxiety when moving day arrives.
  4. Schedule family visitors: The first few weeks following a move can be a juggling act for families. While you might be tempted to visit all day every day for a while, doing so might keep your older loved one from getting involved and making new friends. On the other hand, you don’t want them to feel abandoned when they are likely anxious and uncertain. It might help to set up a schedule for when friends and family will visit. This ensures a steady stream of visitors while still encouraging your family member to get involved in new activities.
  5. Help plan a welcome tea: Another way to help ease the transition is by planning a party. It will give your senior loved one something to look forward to and a chance to show off their new home. Talk with the dining staff at the assisted living community to see if they can help arrange snacks.
  6. Prepare for the bumpy times: Despite all your best efforts, there will be some bumps along the way. Things will go wrong. Some days will be emotional. Remind yourself and your senior loved one it’s a normal part of this transition. As time goes by and your family member settles in, the good days will far outnumber the bad.

Trillium Communities offers three levels of service: Independent Living, Assisted Living and Long Term Care. If you have any questions about moving a loved one into a retirement community or care home, or if you have been thinking about a move yourself, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information: 250-383-6509

We take pride in caring for our residents beyond medication administration – from how they look in the morning to how they feel at the end of the day. We are advocates for and leaders in a resident-centred approach to care, personalizing care to the individual needs, preferences and choices of our residents.

We deliver genuine care, based on our founding values of collaborating with residents, helping them live life to its fullest and ensuring they feel at home.