What the First Day Living in a Senior Living Community Looks Like
You’ve done the research and found the ideal senior living community. You’ve selected the ideal floor plan and chosen the home that will suit your needs and budget. You’ve spent more than a few evenings thinking about what life will look like now that community living is on the horizon. You’re excited for new opportunities and new friendships, as well as a bit of reassurance.
But what happens after the moving van pulls up to your driveway to start the move-in process?
While each senior living community is unique, all of them strive to make the first few days extra special and welcoming for the new residents who are moving in. In fact, most welcoming efforts begin weeks before the actual moving day, with lots of coordination between the community, the moving company, and the new resident and their families. Once the moving day arrives, you should feel confident that the process will be as organized as possible.
Here is what you might expect during moving day and then your first full day living in your new home.
Moving day is full of hustle and bustle as your movers work to get all of your belongings set up in your new home. It can feel stressful and overwhelming at times, just like any move, but your senior living community will offer some relief.
A Team Effort
The team will work closely with your movers so that you don’t have to worry about showing them where to go or which special entrance to use. They will also send down representatives from the maintenance and housekeeping departments to lend a hand with the process. Be sure to take advantage of the extra friendly assistance!
Step Away to De-Stress
You and your loved ones can supervise the entire moving process if you’d like, or you might choose to take advantage of community life and amenities right away. The community team will offer to take you down to the community’s restaurant to enjoy a meal or bring you up a snack and carafe of coffee.
If the move is too busy for your liking, go ahead and join your neighbors for a group event or program happening that day. It’s a wonderful way to step out of the stress of the move and begin to get to know your neighbors.
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Settle In and Celebrate
Once the bulk of the moving process is complete and you have waved goodbye to your movers, the community team will be available to help you hang your photos on the wall, give you a tour of the community, and provide anything else necessary to help you feel settled in. You’ll likely be invited to attend dinner with a member of the community’s leadership team or a resident from the community’s welcome committee. This is a wonderful way to celebrate your move.
Your First Full Week
When a new resident moves into the community, it’s exciting for staff members and neighbors. This means that everyone is going to be eager to meet you and say hello.
During your first full week at the community, you might receive quite a few visitors—but don’t worry if that sounds overwhelming. You can always ask for them to come back at another time if you need some time to decompress.
Get to Know the Community Team Members
You can expect visits from key team members in the community. They’ll complete assessments to help them get to know more about you, your history, and your preferences. This information will build a care plan that will support you with the services you need to feel your best.
Assessments are a wonderful tool to start the personalized experience you will have at the senior living community, and you can ask questions during that time too! Team members are always quite happy to meet new residents, get to know them, and answer any inquiries.
Get to Know Your New Neighbors
You’ll also likely get a few visits from neighbors who are passing by and want to say hello. A welcoming community can’t help but offer a friendly wave and smile.
Take advantage of new neighbors stopping by. Ask them about themselves and about their community. What’s their favorite meal? Where’s the best spot to sit during group programs? When’s the next trip?
You’ll find that these neighbors are your best source of information as you get settled into the routine of the community. You might even have a member of the community’s Welcome Committee stop by with a card, gift, or simple well wishes.
Use your time during these first few days to get to know the team and neighbors that will become your extended family, as well as to start attending meals and programs that will help you make new friends and get to know the ins and outs (and hallway twists and turns) of the community.
Get Comfortable with Pair to Prepare
If you and your family member are participating in the Pair to Prepare program, you will both be able to participate in the process of settling into your new home. In the program, residents can have their family companion stay with them for up to five days at no cost, which ensures everyone in the family gets settled in, finds their way around the community, and has any questions answered.
You’ll also enjoy guided tours, more welcome meals, and a complimentary trip for two to the community’s salon so that you both feel adequately welcomed. These next few days are also a good time for family members to participate in any initial care plan meetings in order to help create a customized plan of support, if needed.
... And Beyond: What Comes Next
Your life at a senior living community is all about you. You’ll have the opportunity to make your own decisions about what your schedule looks like for the day, what entree to choose, and what event to attend next.
The first few days of moving in can feel stressful, and that is okay. You now have an entire team of helpful staff members who are there to reduce that stress by answering all your questions, hanging a piece of art, or giving you tips on which event is coming up soon. Be sure to ask questions and take advantage of the services, amenities, and resources that are now a part of your life.
Soon, you will be an expert at community living and perhaps might even be on the other side of the new resident welcome process, serving as a Resident Ambassador to offer a smile and wave to the next new neighbor who moves in.
If you’re wondering if community living might be your next step, it’s important to understand the different senior living options available and which one might be best for you. Take into consideration move-in programs that offer money-back guarantees or invite your loved ones to stay with you during your first few days—features like these signal the community is confident that you will love your choice.
Learn more by downloading our resource Understanding Senior Living Options. You’ll get our expert tips for understanding the differences between options as well as how to gauge which might be best for you, now and in the future.