Here’s the scenario: You’ve been living in your home for 30 or 40 years. As you’ve gotten older, the everyday upkeep has become a little much, so you’ve decided a retirement community is the best option for your future. Since you’ve chosen a life plan retirement community, you know your future health needs and finances are set.

Others might worry about what to do with 40 years of possessions, but you’ve successfully downsized and are ready for a simpler and more carefree lifestyle. Your biggest worry: How to make your new residence, and the retirement community itself, feel like home.

This is a common scenario among many new residents moving into an Acts Retirement-Life Community. The transition period can feel a bit overwhelming; but as in many cases, the anticipation is the worst part. With a few tips, and some support from the community you’ve chosen, that transition period can be a short and enjoyable one.

Here are several ways to make your new residence, and the retirement community, feel like home.

It starts right from the beginning: Choosing the right retirement community.

Many seniors looking for a retirement community might corner themselves into limited options due to cost. While cost is certainly a factor, two more important factors when choosing a retirement community are location and amenities offered. Choosing a location that doesn’t meet your lifestyle wishes or a community with amenities that do not suit your needs will inevitably be a disappointment.

Remember, this is the home you may very well live out your retirement. If you’re a city person used to hustle and bustle and walkability, don’t choose a community in the middle of nowhere. If you enjoy outdoor recreation such as kayaking, hiking, camping, etc., you’re going to want a community that offers those amenities or has them nearby. You get the point. Don’t choose a community that doesn’t fit your lifestyle simply based on the price tag. Take into account that pricing for continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are also taking care of your future health care and typical monthly expenses.

Select your residence finishes and upgrades carefully.

After you’ve made your commitment to move into the community and selected a residence, one of the first big steps will be selecting the layout, finishes and upgrade options for your new home. Again, we highly encourage not to simply skimp out during this process just to save a few pennies. You should feel free to make selections that best suit your style and needs.

While the flexibility of these options may vary based on the retirement community, the Acts Signature Residence® for example offers choices based on budget and location to choose and create a home that meets your style and comforts. In this program, residents have their own preferences when it comes to selecting and furnishing their home. One unique option is the ability to select from different floor plans within the same residence. Learn more about this and Acts community living.

Finishes can be just as important. This is where your style and tastes will show through, but it’s also the small touches that will make your new residence feel like home. Perhaps there’s a unique aspect from your previous home that you’ve always loved. Talk to your move-in coordinator about how to potentially incorporate that into your new home. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted granite countertops and never had the opportunity or excuse to purchase them in your previous home. This is a great chance to pursue wants and wishes you’ve always aspired to for your home.

Get to know your neighbors.

One of the greatest advantages of moving into a retirement community is the socialization benefits. You are never more than a few steps away from a friendly conversation. Plus, your “inner circle” of friends has the opportunity to grow greatly. It beats sitting at home by yourself all the time, right?

When you first move into the retirement community, take the opportunity from the start to socialize with other residents and meet those who share similar interests as your own. You can join clubs and committees to continue practicing lifelong hobbies. Or, try pursuing that new trade you’ve always wanted to take up with more experienced individuals who can offer some helpful tips! Being a member of a retirement community is like having an instant support system; you can be as active or laid back as you choose to be!

More and more studies show continued socialization results in health benefits as we age. Many retirement communities will even offer new resident orientations or socials to take the awkwardness out of meeting new people. Remember, all of your new neighbors were once in your shoes. We often hear from Acts residents that they choose new neighbors to eat with every night, simply to make new friends and experience new stories.

Invite your family to visit.

Few things will make your new residence and community feel more like home than having your loved ones visit. If you’ve taken location and amenities into account, this will never be an issue! Often seniors will take retirement as the opportunity to move closer to children and grandchildren that have previously relocated for various life purposes. And what grandchild wouldn’t enjoy tinkering around in the game room of the community, getting a juicy cheeseburger from the café or watching grandpa craft a table in the community woodshop? Even adult children who are a little skeptical of Mom and Dad moving into a retirement community are usually convinced of the lifestyle after the first visit.

Bring along some of the mementos, decorations and other possessions that make you happy!

As obvious as this sounds, it’s extremely important to bring some of the items from your previous house that made it feel like home. This might include a series of framed photographs, decorations that exhibit your personality and style, or furniture that you’re comfortable in. Sure, downsizing and preparing for a more minimalist version of living is important, but you’re still going to want to bring the things that make you – well, you! Think realistically if you’re moving from a big house that offered more space than you needed, but also keep the things most important to you. Here are eight tips for downsizing your home.

Be sure to take notice of all the responsibilities that are no longer yours!

Sure, having your new retirement community feel like home is important – and the entire purpose of this article – but our goal is to also take away many of those burdens of home ownership! There are more hidden costs than you might realize. Worries about home upkeep, lawncare, appliance maintenance, repair, and inclement weather duties will be just a memory. Plus, waiting for a repair person will not interfere with your daily plans, since trusted and familiar personnel at the retirement community will be responsible for anything that needs fixing in your home.

Those in harsh winter climates can simply look out the window and smile as the snow falls, knowing your amenities and needs are all under one warm roof. Conversely, those used to hunkering down for oncoming tropical storms will have the peace of mind of knowing safety and property damage is no longer a concern. If you ask us, these are examples that make living in a retirement community feel even better than your previous home.