Moving To a Retirement Community? How To Cope With Change

October 10, 2011

By Kathy Barthel

Adjusting to a retirement home Moving from your home to a retirement residence can be very stressful. We are creatures of habit so this major change can be frightening and hard to accept.

There is comfort in what we’ve always known and the place we’ve lived in for years –even if keeping it clean and tidy is more difficult, even if we can’t prepare the healthy meals we know we should eat, even if our children and friends are no longer nearby and visiting those who are, is a struggle. We get used to the status quo even if it’s eroding our health or making us feel lonely and isolated and we often wait until an emergency forces us to move.

But, most people find that their quality of live improves so much after moving that they wonder why they waited.

Top 4 tips for Coping with Your Move

1. Home is not a building

It starts with how we think about home. What is it? A home is not a house – a building with four walls and a roof. A home is about relationships, it’s a place where we have a support system of people we care about and who care about us, where we feel well and physically safe, where we enjoy tasty, nutritious meals and have great conversations. It’s a place we are proud of because it is clean and tidy and decorated with our favourite things.

Home is a feeling that lives in our hearts and in our relationships much more than it lives in any building. And when our current surroundings no longer support that feeling of home, it’s time to move to a place that does.

2. You can take control

But how can you make that move? If you are fearful of change, if you are doing all you can to avoid or deny it, you may feel like you are losing control – you may feel powerless.

To embrace change you need to regain control by getting the facts in front of you and then deciding on a course of action. Change is much less stressful if you have resources to work with and you know what to expect.

It is important to remember that you’ve made many challenging decisions in your life and you can make this one too.

3. Do your research

The best way to get the information you need in order to make a decision is to research. The Comfort Life site is a great place to start. You will find resources for everything from dealing with your emotions to financing your move and choosing your new home. Compile the information yourself or ask a friend or family member to help you.

After you do your research you will have the tools you need including a budget, a list of what you want in a retirement residence and a list of the residences you want to check out.

4. Gather your team

It is very important to gather a team around you – a real estate agent, a financial advisor, someone experienced in downsizing and maybe a counselor. It is also important to have close friends and family members you can rely on. You will have good days and bad days so remember to keep supportive, caring people close to you.

retirement living guide About the Author Kathy Barthel is the print and online editor of Comfort Life Magazine. The Comfort Life network has grown to become Canada’s premier resource for Retirement Community living. Profiling top retirement communities and filled with sound planning strategies and advice, Comfort Life helps families make the right retirement decisions-whether retirement is imminent or years away.

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