10 Tips to Ease the Transition to Senior Community Living in San Diego

As the owner of a senior move management company, I am often asked by our clients about the transition. “What will it be like?” “How will I meet people?” 

This article was originally written prior to Covid-19 so some of this content may not be relevant for current times.  Having said that, many communities are allowing move-ins and integration into the community after Covid testing

A senior’s move from their home into a senior community is often described as the most difficult transition a person will make in their lifetime There is even a medical term associated with making the move – Relocation Stress Syndrome as. I also know there is a perception about senior community living that no longer holds true. Unlike the convalescent homes of old, today’s senior living communities are vibrant places with exceptional amenities, incredible food, and apartments and patio homes that are nicer than where I now live.   They are no longer places to go to wait to die rather they are places to go to live more fully and more independently – to embrace and take advantage of retirement.  If you are one of the lucky ones who can afford “cruise ship living on land” or have a family member who thinks you deserve it and wants to help, why not treat yourself?

Once you make the decision to move, here are the top 10 tips I have learned over the years that will help make your transition into senior living the best experience possible: 


  1.  Attitude is key.  This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself.  Like a student leaving home for college, you can define the parts of your personality you want to be known for and shed the rest.  Part of our work to prepare our clients for their move is to help determine what items will make the move with them.  We had a client who had all sorts of fun hats.  I would venture to say most of them were in pristine condition still in hat boxes or with tags.  We suggested she take the hats and identify as “crazy hat lady.”.  She would certainly be remembered and something had drawn her to purchase those hats.
  2. While you are reinventing yourself, recognize you have access to all sorts of hobbies and activities right in your own backyard (community).  This is a great time to discover things you’ve always wanted to try or rediscover old hobbies you pushed aside due to lack of time.
  3. Make sure and keep some things the same.  When possible, try and honor your routines.  If you make a pot of coffee every morning or shower every night, make sure to keep those routines.  Moving is stressful and so much of your life will be new and uncertain.  Holding to routines will help.
  4. Make plans to keep attending social outings and visiting places you regularly visit.  
  5. Plan to invite your old friends (and maybe some new ones) to a housewarming party.  Many senior communities will even provide appetizers and food as it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to show what they offer.  It’s a win-win because many people choose communities based on where their friends are.
  6. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the staff, whether you have a question or just need a little help taking care of something in your apartment.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the surroundings.  Plan to spend the first couple of days walking the community and getting the lay of the land.
  8. Have a “calling card” made.  You’ll meet lots of new people while you are discovering your new home.  If you bring a calling card, you may be a lot more likely to be remembered.  The card should include your name, room number and phone number.  The backside can list hobbies and activities you are looking to do with others.  “Hi, my name is Jami and I love Mah Jong.”
  9. Make sure and practice self care.  Whether this is exercise, meditation, or healthy eating, taking care of your health will mean your body is better able to acclimate to the new environment and support your mental health.
  10. Keep your surroundings as much like home as possible.  At Silver Linings Transitions, we recreate nightstands, favorite curios and other spaces that are important to you.  Resist the urge to buy all new.  You want this transition to be as easy as possible and for your new surroundings to feel as familiar as possible.  There will be time to get new things.  Adjust to your new life and then figure out what you really want. 


This article was written with the help of Sherrie Renee, Sales Director at Estancia Senior Living in Fallbrook.