Easing the Transition to Senior Living

After living in Montreal for 60 years, Christine moved to The Marleigh in Unionville, Ontario to be closer to family. She didn’t know a soul at the residence, but that didn’t stop the 83-year-old from settling in quickly. “Somebody cleans, someone cooks, the food is good and the people are so friendly,” she says.

Right away I was as happy as can be.

Here’s Christine’s advice for making an easy transition to a retirement community.

Have a positive attitude

“It was my decision to move here, not my family telling me what I should do, so maybe that makes a difference. There’s a woman here who’s only in her early 70s; she has rheumatoid arthritis and lots of troubles. She’s one of those people who could moan and groan but she never does — she’s the most upbeat person. I think attitude is why some people are happy and accept their situation.”

Find your tribe

“I think anywhere you’ll find people you enjoy being with and the rest you have to let go. I met a woman here who said so-and-so wasn’t very friendly and she was very sensitive. As my friend likes to say, ‘This is why God gave me two ears: in one and out the other.’”

Make the first move

“Since I didn’t know anyone, it was pretty daunting to go down to dinner the first evening. A gentleman came along and said, ‘Are you new here? Why don’t you join us.’ That was very gracious of him. Now if I see someone sitting alone, I ask to join them. You have to approach people, not wait for them to come to you. I ask people what they like to do or I invite them to the daily activities. I always ask people about themselves. People love to talk about themselves!”

Indulge your passions

“I have a lot of things I love to do: I like to read and go to the library. I asked around and found a couple of people who like to join me at the local library. I met some other people I became friendly with and they asked if I wanted to play bridge so I got back into playing after many years.”

Get involved

“I love classical music so I like to go to the concerts at the residence. We had a flutist come in and it was just beautiful. Renee [The Marleigh’s Life Enrichment Coordinator] organizes great outings: we’ve been to Stratford and the McMichael Gallery. One day a few of us went for Lebanese and I really enjoyed the food. I had a friend who loved the theatre so we went to Markham Theatre to see the Bolshoi Ballet and TIFF films. There’s lots of activities if you choose to get involved.”

Look forward, not back

“Many people talk about how much they miss their homes and what a big adjustment it is. It is a big adjustment, but I think it’s better to appreciate what you’ve got instead of looking back at what you miss. I had a wonderful life in Montreal but most of my close friends had moved or died—that’s life. Now it’s lovely to be near my son and daughter-in-law and to help them with my grandchildren. That was then, this is now. Maybe people who look forward to a new adventure will adjust better.”

Find out how we can help you transition to senior living and enjoy time with friends at a Baybridge Senior Living community near you.

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