There are over 46,000 retirement communities in the U.S. Someday, you may want to move into a retirement community. You may also have to assist a parent or loved one into the idea of moving into senior living.

Adjusting to a new environment can be stressful, to say the least. It’s integral that you know what to do to ensure the moving process runs smoothly. Keep these six tips in mind when moving into a retirement community.

1. Know Your Options

With so many retirement communities out there, it’s important to do your research so you can choose the best one for you. You can start by searching for retirement communities near you on the internet and many communities have resources out there on how to pick the right one for you. Read up on their services and amenities, check out their floor plans and videos, and browse their photos and reviews.

2. Visit the Retirement Communities You Like

When determining what college to attend, students visit college campuses. Similarly, when deciding what retirement home is right for you, it is helpful to visit so you can see an apartment in person, and get a feel for the community. 

Simply ask the retirement community staff when is a good time to tour so you can get a good one on one experience. Walk around, identify the layout, and consider where you will place your belongings.

3. Choose Your Favorites

Once you’ve gotten a feel for what senior living communities are available to you and what they offer, it’s time to choose your favorites. Narrow it down to the top 2 or 3. Then, call to find out whether the retirement communities have apartments available, or whether you will need to be waitlisted for the next available apartment. What many people don’t realize is that due to the high demand for senior communities, many have waitlists up to 10 years! So don’t wait and be proactive.

4. Downsize & Organize

Once you choose the best retirement community and reserve your spot, you need to prepare to move. This involves downsizing, organizing, and packing your belongings.

Decide what you need to keep. Also, determine how to remove anything you won’t need. (If you are helping your loved one move, let them be a part of this process.)

When it comes to decluttering, pro-organizer Marie Kondo has one goal: to have a space full of items that bring joy. To accomplish this, Kondo suggests discarding items that lack value and keeping items that spark delight. Kondo’s method respects the emotional journey that is a part of letting go of unnecessary belongings, which is healing and can lessen anxiety.

From here, schedule the move and any paperwork needed with the retirement community staff.

If necessary, hire movers or bring an extra set of helping hands with you on moving day.

5. Keep Constant Communication

Seniors and families may feel nervous about losing their independence, learning how to get to new places, and meeting new people. Many worry about how they may miss their home and it’s a totally different lifestyle than living in a single-family home. But this is why our support system needs to be positive and change the perspective to be an exciting new journey, not an impending tragedy.

Staying in constant communication with family and friends is important to keeping anxiety at bay and acclimating to the new community. Ask the community of your choice to spend the day there, try out some activities and meet other current residents to ease the transition.

6. Ask for Help

If you don’t have to make this life change alone, then you shouldn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help and support. Whether you’re 19 or 99, moving into a new home ranks as one of the top ten most stressful life events. Therefore, moving into a senior living community isn’t easy.

Even if your family lives too far away to physically help you during the moving process, keep them in the loop. They may be able to make phone calls, do the legwork, share wisdom from their experiences, and offer helpful advice.

You may also hire a move manager. Move managers help with estate sales, packing, decorating and moving all in one service.

Time to Move to a Retirement Community

Are you moving into a retirement community? Are you moving someone you care about into a retirement community? If the move is getting to you, remember these tips to ease the process: Know your options, visit the retirement communities you like, choose your favorites, downsize and organize, keep constant communication, and ask for help.

Is it time to move to a retirement community? If you’re based in North Carolina, schedule a tour with us today!