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Helping Your Loved One Make the Transition into Retirement

Is your loved one retiring? There are ways you can help them adjust to their new life, whether they’re moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or a long-term care facility.

There are many challenges that retirees might face during this big transition to a retirement lifestyle. But with your help, you can help them prepare for this new stage in their life.

Here are some of the best tips for adjusting to retirement living in Ottawa.

Questions to Ask Before Transitioning into A Retirement Community

Encourage your loved one(s) to ask as many questions as they need to when choosing Ottawa retirement residences. Of the many questions they may have, be sure to include the following so they can narrow down their search:

  • How long does it take to adjust to retirement?
  • Do you want to rent or buy?
  • What is the cost of the retirement community? And does it fit your budget?
  • What are the neighbours and culture of the community like?
  • Is the community in a convenient location?
  • What type of meals are served?

Remind Your Loved Ones That Retirement Is A Journey Not A Destination

With retirement comes the opportunity to try new things, meet new people, enjoy the company of loved ones, and spend more time on favourite pastimes.

While your loved one might be scared of the transition to retirement, remind them that this is a new stage in life that is filled with exploration. And they are entirely free to enjoy the ride.

Do Your Research Together

It’s important to research and compare different retirement communities with your loved one. Visit these communities together, and spend some time observing each community. Take note of the staff, residents, recreational opportunities, and accommodations.

It will be much easier for your loved one to choose a community to call home and make that transition if they are already familiar with the new environment.

Pick an Assisted Living/Retirement Community That Is A Good Fit for Them

While your loved one may not be happy about the move at first, they will become happy if the community is a good fit for them. So look for communities with amenities they will enjoy—including food, music, and recreational activities.

Read reviews and visit the community several times before making a choice so you and your loved one can decide if it’s a good fit or not.

Assist Them in The Decision-Making Process, But Make Sure Their Choice Is Their Own

Make sure to involve your loved one in the decision-making process, especially if they are of sound mind. While it’s okay to offer your opinion, they should have the final say in the matter since it will be their new home. And they will feel more empowered to move and make this transition into retirement if they have the independence to decide.

Help Them Downsize and Plan for the Move

Much like choosing a new home, your loved one should have the freedom to choose what they bring with them to their new home. They may have to downsize and may not have the option to bring all of their cherished belongings.

So be patient while helping them to downsize and plan for the move. They may need time to part with some of their belongings and revisit the lifetime of memories that are wrapped up in their home. Coming to terms with the past and what once was is a big part of moving forward and making a transition to a new lifestyle.

Help Them Figure Out Their Budget/Plan Their Finances (If They Require Help)

Once your loved one retires, they will be living on a fixed income, so they’ll need to follow a well-planned budget. If they need help, offer to help them plan a budget.

And remember that many of their expenses will be different in retirement. For example, their transportation costs will likely decrease since they are no longer commuting to work, but their medical expenses might go up.

Get Them Settled and Help Them Make Their New Home Their Own

Moving to a new community can be scary and lonely for anyone. So help your loved one settle into their new home by visiting them regularly and being active in their lives, especially during the first few months after the move.

Also, help them to make their new home feel like home by decorating it with personal belongings—such as furniture, photos, and artwork.

Make Sure They Have Access to All Amenities They’re Interested in and Can Still Do the Hobbies/Activities They Love

Help your loved one access old and new activities by finding suitable transportation. You could help them find the nearest bus stops and research local bus routes, or arrange to use a community shuttle service. You may also want to offer them a ride to hard-to-reach locations.

Let Them Be Independent

Maintaining independence is important for feeling empowered and enjoying life. And after a lifetime of being independent, it can be difficult to transition to a relaxed lifestyle that doesn’t require independence.

So find ways to ensure your loved can still feel independent in some ways. Along with using local transportation, they may still want to run errands, cook their own meals, and do their own chores once in a while.

Ensure They’re Still Active Outside Their Community

It may take some time for your loved one to adjust to their new community, and they may not feel like continuing their old routines if caught up in the transition.

But it’s important that they keep doing what they love and spending time with those they love. So accompany them on outings to encourage them to get out, enjoy hobbies, and connect with friends and family.

Maintaining these connections will help make the transition smoother, especially when they realize that their life doesn’t have to change completely with their new living arrangements.

Encourage Them to Be Active in Their Community

One of the best ways to overcome shyness and insecurity in a new community is by getting involved, connecting with others, and making new friends. So encourage your loved one to take advantage of social opportunities in their community by joining clubs and groups, getting active, attending events, and being open to meeting new people with similar interests.

Visit Often

You can help make the new place feel like home if you visit often. It will be easier to settle into their new home if they are frequently surrounded by loved ones. Regular visits will make it clear that the move doesn’t change how often they see friends and family.

Don’t Feel Guilty About This New Chapter

Retirement communities promote healthy, active, and social living with all the comforts of home. So while it’s normal to feel guilty about moving a loved one to a retirement community, you really shouldn’t.

Adjusting to retirement life can be exciting and more comfortable if your loved one has your help throughout the process. Keep these tips in mind to help make the transition to retirement smooth for your loved one so they can start this new life path on the right foot.