By Karen Thomas
“Move? At my age?” “I’ve got decades of stuff to go through and get rid of before I could even think about moving.” “I’m too young. I’m not ready.” The list goes on and on — these are just a few I have heard as reasons to put off moving to a senior living community. It’s easy to find excuses when you can think of more reasons not to do something. So, let me give you some reasons why you’d want to move so you can let those excuses go.
Moving to a senior living or retirement community should not be thought of as a hardship; it is a new adventure in life — a new beginning. Just think — you are going to a place you have never lived before. You will meet new people and open the door to new friendships. You will have the opportunity to learn new things. Don’t be content to sit in the same house you’ve lived in for years when you can move to a new community that offers new hobbies, activities and experiences. You could learn a new sport or develop a new exercise routine. Perhaps the new location offers more outdoor activities or more convenient gathering places for art classes. Learn a new card game. Enjoy new foods. Researchers at the Association for Psychological Science say those who participated in continuous and prolonged mental challenges, like taking up photography or quilting, showed marked improvement. It’s important to keep your mind active, and senior living communities strive to make these opportunities available and accessible.
Have you ever had the thought, “I don’t want to be a burden to my children”? Moving to a senior living or retirement community could alleviate that worry. Typically, those living independently at home do not have many, if any, services to assist them as they age. “I’m doing just fine living on my own. I don’t need any services.” That may certainly be a true statement right now, but why wait until you are forced to make a decision — a decision that may move you to where you don’t want to be. A fall, sudden medical condition, or slip in cognitive ability can change your situation overnight. Make your own decision early before you experience a life-altering event. It’s possible you may not need any services for the remainder of your life, but the majority of seniors are not that blessed.
Senior living and retirement communities offer services ranging from home health to rehab to assisted living, skilled nursing care and memory support. Depending on the community you choose, it may be possible to transition through many stages of care as you age without ever leaving the community. This is especially preferred when one spouse needs more care than the other. It’s important when doing your research to make sure the community you choose provides quality health care and has all the services you might need.
What to do with your decades of stuff? My father was a preacher, and my family packed and unpacked our household around seven times while I was growing up. Each time, it seemed like our furniture and boxes filled the entire Mayflower truck. Today, I am living in the house I bought in 1991. No moves in that many years means I’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff.” Steadily approaching 60 years of age, I have made the decision to start going through my stuff before push comes to shove — before I’m forced to quickly go through everything or to leave it for someone else. I suppose I have been listening to those I assist in making their move to Advent Christian Village as they have talked about the process they’ve taken to get ready to move.
Unfortunately, I do not have a magic wand to lend out to assist in going through and cleaning out. I am taking this approach: If I am not using it or haven’t used it — much less looked at it — for years, why do I still have it? Where does all the stuff come from? Cleaning out closets always fills me with wonder — I wonder where it all came from. But seriously, don’t wait until you are feeling pressured to get the task done. Start now and do a little at a time. If it is something you are holding onto to give to your children or grandchildren, go ahead and give it to them. You will be happy you did when that packing time comes.
Moving to a senior living or retirement community is not the beginning of the end of your life any more than changing jobs, having your first grandchild, or retiring is. It can be one of the most fulfilling times of your life — a new beginning waiting for you to make the most of.
Where I work, at Advent Christian Village, approximately 750 members enjoy lives full of activity, friendship, growth, comfort, security, peace of mind, and support. If you’d like to learn more about how Advent Christian Village could be your new beginning, call me at 1-800-647-3353 or (386) 658-5291.
About the author: Karen Thomas calls herself an “old timer” at Advent Christian Village. She moved to Dowling Park in 1983 and has held several positions including food service management for 20 years. She has been director of Residency Services since 2004. In that role, she assists those interested in moving to Advent Christian Village.