By Mary Beth Galarneau
Autumn is a time of transition. You would know this if you recently moved a child into a college dorm. Emotions, or at least the act of trying subdue them, were probably running high as you and your son or daughter met their new roommate(s), set up their dorm room and faced the inevitable reality that it was time for you leave your “baby” in their new….home.
Seniors face a similar transition. If you’ve ever had to settle your aging parent into a senior/assisted living community, you would know how that feels. Having to move your parent into a smaller space can be just as unsettling as leaving your teenager in a college dorm.
There is a reason for that. Going off to college and moving into a senior community, are similar experiences. How? Well, for starters, it’s an entirely new experience which takes some adjusting. In senior living facilities, directors say that it takes a good 30 days for a new client to get acclimated. The same can be said for college students. No matter your age, being away from the comfort of home evokes the feelings of homesickness.
In school, there are group activities offered, such as hikes or barbecues, so kids can get acclimated and make new friends. Seniors also have to forge new friendships. Here, where the end goal isn’t to get good grades, it’s all about relaxing, having fun and being entertained. There are many activities going on that will keep you busier than you’ve ever been. Things like magicians and singers; crafts and baking; bingo and dancing; the race track and shopping. With so much to do, there is no time to be bored!
Aside from missing home and having to meet new people, there are other ways the experiences are similar:
Having to eat in a dining room with a large group of people. This can be intimidating at first, when you don’t know many people, but, once you develop friendships, it gets easier.
Missing a beloved pet at home.
Learning to do new things. Many students will be doing laundry and cooking for themselves for the first time, while seniors who may be dealing with the loss of a spouse are learning to live alone and do things they haven’t had to do, such as banking or paying bills.
Learning about your surroundings. Students in a new town will have to learn where the necessities – grocery store, bank, etc. – are. The same can be said for seniors if they have family or friends visit them and take them out and about.
Family weekend! Colleges and senior communities host family fun weekends, which are a great way to meet and mingle.
Health. Before going to school, students have to have updated check-ups. The same is true for seniors.
Choosing what to take. Dorm rooms and senior housing can be very small. The challenge is in choosing what you absolutely need to take with you.
Learning new technology. Colleges have apps so students can watch their laundry and know when it’s done and other programs such as Moodle, Blackboard or Edmodo, which are virtual learning environments. Seniors may be connected to WiFi for the first time, and learn how to email, Skype or play video games that Wii offers, such as bowling, golf, tennis which provide fun and exercise.
Life can be thought of as chapters. For recent graduates, that chapter is about college and choosing a major that will help start them their career path. Seniors, on the other hand, have “been there, done that” and their chapter is one of reflection and enjoyment. But, the feelings they face in their new environments are the same. Transitions may be hard, but families can help, whether you’re in the autumn of the year or the autumn of your life.
Organize Senior Moves provides a wide-range of services to flawlessly move seniors into their new home. They will help purge/donate/sell items, prep for an estate sale, stage a home to sell, and completely coordinate your move to your new home right down to hanging curtains, organizing cabinets and making sure your electronics are hooked up.
For more information call 518-621-6568 or visit www.organizeseniormoves.com.