You’re retired. The house is too big for your needs, so you downsize, but a retirement home is too slow for you. You find a nice and quiet community with people your own age and prepare to live alone in a new place for the first time. It’s intimidating, to say the least. And you wouldn’t be remiss for doing some research into making it easier. Here I’ll help you settle your nerves and turn your first big move into the most exciting journey of your life. Within reason, of course- this isn’t Moulin Rouge, after all.
This should be a staple piece of advice anytime you are home alone or leave someone in your home alone. You never know what could happen, and should there be a fire or medical emergency, you can’t spend time looking up an emergency contact. Likewise, you should keep the numbers of your landlord, local handyman, and community leads, or whoever holds similar titles in your area.
Lastly, we’d recommend keeping the number of some neighbors you are friendly with, or at least whom you trust. Sometimes, in an emergency, nothing beats an immediate set of hands that can just pop over from next door.
A little bit of personalization goes a long way to making us feel at home. And while it may not seem like much, just putting up some books and belongings in your bedroom can really make a new place feel lived in.
Our homes directly impact our mental health, so why not fill them with things that make you happy? This move is your chance to re-invent yourself or re-imagine what you already own.
Living alone can feel, well, lonely. Maybe you are used to having someone else around the house and feel strange talking to yourself in an empty house.
Pets are a great way to be alone without feeling alone. Plus, having another living creature relying on you to survive keeps you accountable and on a routine. If you’re building or community doesn’t allow pets, then consider a plant instead. It may not be as fun to talk to, but at least it’s company!
When it comes to mental and physical health, nothing helps more than having a clean home. And a little goes a long way. If you haven’t lived on your own before, it can be easy to let small tasks build up, like piles of clothes or dirty dishes. But when you do, they become much more difficult to deal with.
Taking 10 minutes before bed and in the morning each day to do some cleaning will make your job so much easier. It will also help protect your home from pests and make them easier to identify.
As for motivating yourself to clean, I recommend inviting neighbors over for small get-togethers. Nothing will light that fire to clean than knowing other people will see your mess.
Also, consider investing in a good vacuum with a magic wand for reaching difficult areas. This is especially important for people with restricted movement.
Staying safe is important for anyone living on their own, but it is only natural for your risk of injury to increase as you age. So, as someone living alone for the first time over 50, you will want to set up your new home in the best way possible.
The first step will be making sure that your home is accessible to your needs. Do the stairs have handrails? Do you need any additional support or handholds while getting out of the bath? These are things that can be incorporated into your home design in an ergonomic and discrete way so that you don’t have to feel old or incapable. They are simply there as a “just-in-case” and because it’s much more embarrassing to be saved from a fall in the bath than it is to prevent one.
Some other additions to consider
– No-slip bathmats
– Flashlights in case of power outages
– A Fire Extinguisher
– A stepladder
– A Toolkit
Lastly, remember that a local support system can go a long way in supporting disaster. We’ll get into staying social in the next section but look for neighbors who you can trust with an extra set of keys.
Everybody needs friends. That’s why we have communities, and it’s a huge part of the reason so many people move into 55+ communities in the first place. The more you have in common with your neighbors, the easier it is to make new friends, but any social situation will require you to go a bit out of your comfort zone.
Make an effort to be involved in your community. Look for clubs or weekly get-togethers that you can easily join, and meet your neighbors. Not only will it keep you happier, but being friendly with your neighbors is great for your safety and the safety of your home.
Lastly, stay in touch with your friends and loved ones from home. Just because you have moved away doesn’t mean you have to be away. We live in the most connected age ever, so why not take advantage?
You know what you’re doing in the kitchen. And it’s hard to make it this far without at least knowing a few things that you can cook to get you through the week.
But there will come days when you are under the weather or just don’t feel up to cooking. So on those days, it’s helpful to have provisions. Canned non-perishables like soups are a great supplement to any pantry.
Or, if you are sufficiently foresighted, you can do your cooking in big batches that can then be rationed out through the week. Try creating a menu at the beginning of your week. It will make your grocery list more efficient and give you a better idea of what you’re consuming. Healthy eating has a ton of benefits, including making us happier.
Living alone can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Nothing that’s listed in this post is especially difficult, and it can go a long way to making you feel at home. If you are interested in finding a community that is best suited for your needs, consider The Vineyards at Brookfield. Our 55+ Communities are designed with the perfect balance of comfort and convenience.