How to prepare for your move to a senior living community in the ‘new normal’
Before you ever heard of COVID-19, you’d been considering a move to a senior living community. Perhaps you’ve even found the right community and started putting plans in motion.
For the time being, you may be forced to put these plans on hold. However, while you wait, you may find yourself concerned over the uncertain future. What will happen to the plans you have made? How long will you have to wait? It’s normal to be uneasy in a situation unlike any you’ve ever known before.
One thing has not changed: All the reasons you had for moving to a senior living community still hold true — especially now.
Community living puts everything you need within reach
Perhaps, during your weeks of sheltering in place at home, you’ve worried about running out of food and essentials — or feared going out in search of them. Maybe you’ve had to be dependent on family, friends or neighbors for errands or favors. Or you’ve worried about how to obtain medical care — of any kind, from tooth to toe — should a need arise. Or emergency home repairs. Maybe you’ve even had bouts of loneliness.
Each of these real-life, anxiety-producing situations are often remedied by living within a well-established Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community — with its full complement of attentive staff, dining services, interior and exterior maintenance, 24-hour security and on-site health care. Communities also adhere to stringent sanitary and medical protocols and standards — with or without COVID-19.
Plan and organize
Here are some steps you can take now to be ready when the wait is over.
- If you haven’t yet decided on a community, here’s your chance to comparison shop — visit websites, take virtual tours, explore social media postings, attend virtual live events, request brochures and speak with staff. Ask questions and take notes. Compile your list of pros and cons. Discuss this move with your children.
- If you have decided on a community, start developing relationships. Chat with future neighbors and staff via phone or video conference. Choose a realtor and learn next-steps for selling your current house. Collaborate virtually with move coordinators and space planners. Stay current with your new community — including the clubs and committees that interest you — through email and online groups. Attend virtual live events. Inquire about exclusive benefits you can enjoy now, before you move in.
- Divide and conquer your clutter. Decide what you want to keep, give to family and friends, donate, sell, recycle or simply throw away. Imagine your new floor plan and get into the fun stuff — picking out new paint colors, planning room layouts and shopping for new décor online.
- Speak to your financial planner. Call your financial advisor to discuss your move, and find out if they recommend any adjustments to your portfolio.
As we begin to phase back into a “new normal,” you’ll have so many new connections and conveniences to look forward to in a senior living community. Any isolation you may feel now as a homeowner will be replaced by overlapping emotional, physical and even financial support systems. Expect more security, camaraderie, opportunity, adventure and peace of mind.
In fact, prepare yourself for the possibility of liking your “new normal” better than your old one.