You’ve planned, you’ve organized and you’ve made the move. You’re officially a resident at a Life Care Community and you’re ready to live the life you’ve dreamed about. But … how do you get started?
“Most seniors haven’t made a big life move in many years, and moving into a Life Care Community can feel a little like being the new kid at school all over again,” says Kevin DeAcosta, President and CEO of The Highlands at Wyomissing , the only nonprofit Life Care Community in Berks County, PA. “Settling into a new routine can take some time, which is normal. Still, some seniors may find it hard to take that first step towards getting integrated into the community.”
Kevin says that it’s only natural to feel a little hesitant and unsure of where to start once you’ve moved into a Life Care Community. “Starting something new always carries a little uncertainty,” he says. “Here’s the good news: Life Care Communities are the best places possible for older adults to live well, stay active, remain independent and enjoy the benefits of retirement. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to get involved in the life and flow of a community. There’s always something going on, and there are so many people in the same stage of life who are ready to experience it with you.”
Nonetheless, Kevin says that new residents find themselves in a situation where there are already established social groups and long-standing relationships. “It’s important to remember that even if you feel awkward, everyone around you has gone through the exact same thing,” he says. “You’ll find that your fellow residents are quite eager to meet you and learn all about you,” he says. “Take a deep breath, break outside your comfort zone and keep an open mind – and you’ll soon discover you’re right at home in your new, well, home!”
Moving to a Life Care Community: What To Do Next
1. Find a fun event or activity.
Life Care Communities like The Highlands always have something fun going on. Each day is packed with fitness classes, learning opportunities, club meetings, social gatherings and more. Since you don’t have to worry about planning and coordinating the activities, it’s easy as pie to show up, enjoy and meet other residents. It’s a great way to try out new things and discover an unexpected passion. Even if you try something and you don’t like it, that’s okay – there are still plenty of other ways to get involved. As you continue to try out events, activities and clubs, you’ll soon start discovering that you’re making friendships and meaningful connections with other residents.
2. Connect over shared interests.
While trying out new activities is fun, so is rediscovering an existing hobby or interest. Not only will this get you involved in life at the Life Care Community, but you’ll also be matched up with other residents who share your same passions. That’s a great (and instant) foundation for a friendship. If for some reason you don’t see an activity or hobby that piques your interest, talk to the activities director and community staff to see how you’d go about creating your own club.
3. Invite friends and family.
Obviously, you have connections outside of the community that you still want to nurture. Why not invite friends and family to your new home and do some activities with them there? If you’re feeling a little awkward about insinuating into community life, having someone you already know can help break the ice and make things a little easier. Having someone with you can also make it easier to strike up a conversation with another person or party. Once that ice has been broken, it becomes even easier to have natural conversations now and in the future.
4. Grab a meal together.
Bonding over a good meal is a great way to strike up a friendship. Many senior communities will assign or suggest specific seats for new residents so they always have someone to eat with. This will give you an opportunity to chat with new individuals and get to know people quickly, which can be the basis of a great relationship.
5. Step outside.
While it’s nice to relax in your own space, it’s also great to get out and explore the entirety of your new home. Go outside and take a walk, head to the game room to play cards, visit a community space and read a book or head to the art studio – whatever strikes your fancy. While you’re out and about, you’ll definitely see other people around, which is definitely a great opportunity to start a conversation. You may even find that others approach you first because you’re a new face and they’re interested in getting to know you!
6. Join a “new kids” club.
Life Care Communities are all about helping residents form friendships and relationships. Some communities have official “New Resident” groups – usually formed of anyone who’s joined the community in the past month or so – that get together to learn more about the community and start making connections. If your community doesn’t have an official group, talk to the staff to get introduced to other newbies. It’s always good to have a buddy when you’re going to events or just exploring the grounds. Being new together is a great way to bond and meet other people, too.
7. Have patience.
Remember that building connections and making friends can take some time. Although you may wish things were happening immediately, don’t get discouraged – you’re not on any schedule here. In fact, you may find yourself feeling a little blue from time to time, which is completely normal when you’re in a new situation. Be patient, give yourself grace and allow yourself the opportunity to try new things. Pretty soon, you’ll start to find your footing and create a routine that works for you. You’ll also start seeing familiar faces and meeting others who share your interests. Before you realize it, you’ll be feeling right at home.
Your Remarkable Future Awaits.
The Highlands at Wyomissing opened its doors in April of 1989 with apartments for those who needed a helping hand with daily activities. Since then, we have grown into a large community of homes and apartments, amenities and services, and so much more.
With over 113 acres of gently rolling hills, lush walkways and towering trees, The Highlands at Wyomissing has offered stunning amenities, engaging activities and endless opportunities for more than 30 years. Located just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, we’re proud to be the only nonprofit Life Care Community in Berks County, where residents are free to live their active, independent lifestyles with a continuum of care available right at home if they ever need it.
When you choose The Highlands at Wyomissing, you’re free to create a retirement that mirrors what you’ve always wanted for your future. What are you waiting for? Get a taste of what life is like on our vibrant campus at The Highlands at Wyomissing by contacting us at 610.370.6668 for more information.