I recently moved from my condo to the independent living side of a continuing care community. The good news is, I don’t have to worry about where I will be living in the future as I can move to assisted living, memory care, or skilled care as needed. The bad news is, I feel lost in this large, unfamiliar environment.
I’ve only been here a few weeks and I know things will get better but, in the meantime, do you have any suggestions on how I can find my way through this maze of change?
Looking for Guidance
Good for you for being proactive in securing your future. I commend you for your willingness to make this major change. You didn’t say how long you lived in your condo but, if it was many years, I’m sure the move was especially challenging.
Here are some suggestions to help you cope with the change you’re experiencing:
- As a first step, I suggest you reach out to the staff at your facility. New residents are frequently overwhelmed by all the “newness” of their surroundings and don’t take advantage of the resources available to them. Chances are, there are new resident programs you may have dismissed when you first moved in. Don’t hesitate to ask your activities director or another staff member about what’s available to help you acclimate and become more familiar with your environment.
- If you’ve met a new friend or have a table mate, ask them where they go for groceries, hair care (if there isn’t a salon in your building), church, or other outside resources.
- Make an effort to participate in activities for residents like bingo, lectures, exercise programs, outings. It’s like throwing a bunch of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. I know this is a gross analogy, but life is like that—messy. Try out all the activities available to you and see what “sticks.”
- Don’t isolate yourself! Get out of your apartment everyday (in addition to mealtimes). Walk around the facility. Start within your comfort zone until you feel more confident about going further. If you get lost, use your cell phone to call the front desk or ask anyone you see to direct you back to your apartment. People are happy to help a new resident. Don’t be afraid to explore your new, safe environment.
- Find a way to be a part of your community. If you’re able, volunteer within your facility or in your town. Read to school children, cuddle newborns, help out in the library, make coffee at church. Find a way to serve that is rewarding and you’ll forget all about your own discomfort.
Good luck in your new environment. Before you know it, you’ll be the community expert.
As a retired Certified Personal/Professional Coach, I’m delighted to bring my years of life coaching experience to Coastal Breeze News readers. I’m currently writing a self-help book, “Mom’s Gone, Now What?” and invite you to follow me at www.motherloss.blog. More than mother loss, the blog addresses how to live a healthy, joy-filled life.
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