Dear Donna:

I’m planning to relocate to a senior living community this summer. While I live in Florida now, my search is taking me to the Holland, Michigan, area to be closer to my daughter and her family. It will make it easier for us to be more involved in one another’s lives.

I’ve been considering this move for a while and feel it’s a good decision. However, I’ve been a resident of Florida for almost 30 years. Nearly all of my friends are here, as are my doctors, my church, and my volunteer work. The idea of starting over is daunting. Do you have some ideas to make rebuilding my social circle easier? It might help me prepare for this next chapter in life.



Tips for Making New Friends after Moving to a Senior Living Community

Dear Elizabeth:

First, it sounds like you have much to look forward to, especially being closer to your grandkids! And Holland, Michigan, is such a lovely area of the country to call home. But I understand how intimidating it may seem. Preparing ahead of time, like you are doing, is a great idea. Just in case you aren’t sure how to start your search, these tips might be helpful.

As far as rebuilding your social circle after a move to a senior living community, I do have a few ideas that I hope will be useful.

  • Explore communities convenient to family.

Since you mentioned that you are just beginning your search for a senior community, my first suggestion is to carefully consider the location. While proximity to your daughter and her family shouldn’t be the top or only priority, it should be high on your list. That will make it easier for you to visit and help with the grandkids and for them to be involved in activities at your community.

  • Research the Holland area online.

Another tip is to spend time online researching the Holland area. You already have the advantage of your daughter living there, but exploring opportunities of interest to you is important. For example, since you mentioned that you are currently involved in volunteer work, you could look around online to see which organizations might be looking for help. It’s also a good way to look up churches, doctors, and more.

  • Get on newsletter and email lists.

Ask all of the senior living communities that you are seriously considering to put you on their lists to receive their newsletters and event information. While the distance will obviously prevent you from attending activities and programs, it will give you a chance to learn more about what happens each day. That will give you a head start once you move and are ready to participate in activities. If you do make personal visits to the communities before making a decision, which we always recommend, plan to attend an event or two when you are in town.

  • Be patient but also put yourself out there.

My last suggestion is to give yourself time to settle in, but to also take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. That might include enjoying a cup of coffee in a common area of the community with neighbors or joining a morning stretching class. If you are a little hesitant to attend activities and events on your own, ask the life enrichment team to introduce you to neighbors who might share your interests. You could also invite family members to join you for a program.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you, Elizabeth. And I’d like to encourage you to keep Heritage Senior Communities in the Holland area on your list. One of our team members will be happy to take you on a tour, answer any questions you might have, and invite you to one of our daily life enrichment activities.

Kind regards,