One of the biggest worries seniors have when thinking about adventuring into a senior community is a fear of getting lost. How will I ever find my way around this treacherous place? This fear can debilitate seniors enough to keep them from not moving to a senior living community where they can reap many benefits. I am here to tell you, you will find your way around. No doubt about it.

You know, you could drop bread crumbs wherever you go! This is a sure way to find your way back, but unfortunately, I don’t think the environmental services team would appreciate this tactic. So let’s look at what you can do to help yourself to your new home?

First, it’s extremely important to be realistic. You have to understand and ACCEPT you will not know your new environment in one day, it takes time. And the amount of time to takes one person can vary, so having some faith in yourself and trusting you’ll get it figured out, is essential. Think about it, to get to the top of a stairway, you don’t just jump to the top, do you? No, you have to take it one step at a time. This metaphor is fitting when looking at the process of adjusting to your new home; you do it one day at a time. 

Next, getting comfortable with your new apartment can bring about feelings of confidence and safety since this is where you spend the majority of your time. Get comfortable with knowing the layout of your apartment, where you put things, and how things work. It’s helpful to think about the things that are important to you. Do you watch television? If so, finding the channels you like can be a daunting task. Also, learning how to work the remote in the way that best supports your TV schedule is important. Maybe you shower and get ready every day. If so, it’s important to organize your clothes so they are placed in the most convenient drawers to facilitate comfort and ease in getting ready for your day. Another way to get comfortable in your new space is to figure out how some of your amenities work. An example of this would be to get to know how the shower works, how your dishwasher is best loaded and what you need to know about adjusting your apartment’s heat and air conditioner. The above mentioned aspects of a new apartment, once conquered, can have a lasting impression and influence on how at ease you feel. Once you get comfortable here, then let’s take it another step.

Next step, get comfortable with frequently used locations such as your mailbox to grab your mail. This will get the process of being familiar with the building started. Try finding the dining room so that you always know where to head at meal time.  Next would be the laundry facility. Everyone should know where to go to do laundry even if your family comes and does it for you. Some will find comfort in just knowing where it is should they even need it. Another good exercise would be to locate your car or area of pickup for the transportation service. Every time a newcomer finds his or her way to the location they started off for it promotes a sense of security. Each day, grab your map and use the community directories in the hallways to find your way to some of these. If you do this every day, in no time you will feel comfortable with finding your way around the facility in relation to your apartment. Sometimes it’s helpful to take it one location at a time. For example, today I will find my way to the dining room and back. Then, the next day you might try the laundry facility.

You’re about there! You are reaching the final steps of navigating your new home with sheer confidence. The remaining areas are all you need to help get you fully acclimated. It’s truly about finding those things that you are interested in such as; the activities room for daily activities, the wellness room for therapy or workouts, the beauty shop to get your hair done, a friend’s apartment, or a trip to a local event, that will help you acclimate the best.

If you are still finding it hard to get acclimated after sufficient time and practice, occupational therapists can help develop a progressive plan to help you achieve the goals of becoming confident in finding your way around your new home. Check with your community receptionist on this subject and they will point you to the right person to help. Also remember, this is very new and there are staff that can help steer you in the right direction.

Please understand adjusting to your new home is a process that requires taking it one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will adjusting to your new home happen in a day, so it’s important to approach these steps with some patience and look at it as an adventure not a dreadful chore! Don’t forget you are not in this alone. You will have many helpful residents and staff to assist you with this new journey.  It’s helpful to know everyone has been exactly where you are.

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