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Biggest Obstacles Seniors Face When Transitioning to a Retirement Community

Cathy Gordon, January 10, 2013


When downsizing into a retirement community, seniors face many obstacles. Understanding these challenges, and taking the appropriate actions to prepare for them can help you have an easier move and adjustment period.

One significant challenge seniors face is dealing with their possessions. Many seniors are overwhelmed with the volume of what is in their home. It is very common for seniors to be concerned about the items they must leave behind, and what will happen to those possessions. Planning ahead of time can make the process much easier, as you can decide over time what to bring with you and what is better suited to give to family, friends, or charities. For remaining items, they can be donated, or auctioned off. Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists can provide personalized auction and shipping services, so you don't have to worry about handling those aspects of your move.

When deciding what to take with you, you should start with practical items you use frequently. Starting with the items you use daily will help you sort through a lot of items you need and don't need. Obviously there are always items of great sentimental value you want to keep, but trying to keep everything will not work. By focusing on the practical first you can then prioritize the rest. We find that most people do not miss what they do not use, and are happy to be settled in their new home with just the right amount of belongings.

There is also quite a bit of stress associated with waiting for an opening in a retirement community. Many retirement communities have waiting lists. Long wait times can limit choices, so if you want to move to a particular location (because of proximity to family, or because of the amenities provided) it's best to get on a waiting list earlier rather than later. You may not be ready to move just yet, but it's good to keep your options open.  You can always let them know you’re not ready for the room when it becomes available and be put back into the rotation for availability

Seniors frequently feel trepidation about moving into a retirement community. They are nervous about having to start fresh especially if they do not know anyone in the community they are moving into. Generally speaking, most retirement communities are very welcoming. The staff makes an effort to introduce themselves to each new resident within the first day. When we move people into a retirement community, we try to introduce them to other residents who have moved into the community recently as well.

Downsizing into a retirement community is a big source of stress. It's a major life transition! Give yourself the time you need, and plan ahead for best results.


Written by Cathy Gordon

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