Moving to one of the retirement homes in your community is like relocating to a new neighborhood. It takes time to get to know the neighbors, their priorities and concerns. You can speed up the process by becoming an active participant in the community soon after your arrival. Here are some ways you can get to know your new neighbors and how to let them learn a little about you.
1. Go to the residents' meetings.
Some retirement communities hold regular meetings with the residents to discuss current concerns and future changes. This gives you a chance to learn what concerns your neighbors and who are the most vocal residents. You'll also observe how the administration responds to the residents.
2. Attend classes sponsored by the facility.
Classes provide an informal atmosphere in which to meet and talk with the other residents. You'll learn what interests they have and may meet others who share your interests. You'll meet those residents who have a thirst for learning and those who attend classes purely for the social interaction it gives them.
3. Volunteer to teach a class.
If the facility doesn't sponsor a class that covers your interests, volunteer to teach a class on one of your favorite topics. This is a good way to meet others with your interests. It also shows that you are interested in contributing to the community.
4. Offer up your expertise to your neighbors.
You may have years of experience in a particular field that others in the retirement center may find valuable, such as financial planning and estate management. Offer to hold question and answer sessions in one of the common areas for interested people. You could also provide one-on-one support to neighbors who need specific help in your area of focus.
5. Offer up your services to maintain and improve the facility.
If you have a background in such skills as plumbing, carpentry or other homeowner skills, you can volunteer to help the facility with specific projects. While they will have their own maintenance crew, you could help with remodeling projects or assist other residents upgrade their living spaces by installing new lighting or plumbing fixtures.
6. Mentor new residents.
Shortly after you move in, you'll have a good sense of how to navigate the facility. You could help other new residents find their way in the community. Not only will you be providing a valuable service to the new residents, but you'll be one of the first to meet them.