Moving in to an active adult/senior living community

As they approach retirement age, many adults want to live in a community that focuses on their needs and desires. Adult active and senior living communities provide environments in which older adults can continue to live independently while enjoying amenities like golf courses, fitness centers and spas. Once you choose the right adult community, you need to know what to do in order to move in.

Know the community before you arrive. Adult active and senior living communities vary widely in housing, services and activities. You might move into a large house, or your new home could be a small apartment. Some communities offer communal or catered dining facilities, while others expect you to cook at your own home. Read all available literature about the community and talk to current residents to get an idea of what to expect. Most senior living communities offer detailed websites on the Internet that show samples of what you can expect.

Check with your new community office or homeowner's association about rules for the move. If you are moving into a single-family home, you can usually just direct the movers to your door. If your community offers housing in an apartment complex, check with the building or community managers to find out about appropriate moving times and procedures. There may be time and access restrictions in place to ensure the comfort of the community. Some adult active communities have restricted access, limited by gates or guards, so make sure you clear the moving van before it arrives.

Downsize your life before you arrive at your new home. People moving into a senior living community often are coming from larger, family-size homes. Senior living communities rarely offer the storage capacity of a traditional family home, so any extra objects should be sold, donated or jettisoned prior to the move. If you do find yourself with extra items when moving in to the new house, inquire about storage options within the community or arrange for a storage unit off-site.

Match your belongings to your new environment. In many adult active communities, exterior work on the home is managed by the community itself. John Newsom, a computer expert with a Seattle-area private school, moved into the Trilogy Active Adult Community in Redmond, Washington and found that “the front of the house, including the plantings, is maintained by the homeowners association.” You will not need all of the home repair and gardening equipment used at your old home, so limit what you bring to those tools that you can actually use.

Check out the amenities of your new community as soon as possible. The many activities offered to residents of senior living communities are among the major draws of such living arrangements. You can expect restaurants, fitness facilities, classes and even spas to be available to all residents. In order to not miss out on anything, visit your community center or clubhouse right away.

Find out about basic services like utilities and mail delivery. While some adult active communities leave home services to the individual residents, others centralize service and billing. Is your mail delivered to your house or to a central location? Do you pay for heating, water and electricity directly to the company or does your community bill you instead?

Learn the rules about guests, especially if those guests are children. Most senior living communities place a lower-age restriction on residents, usually requiring full-time residents to be 55 and older. In many cases, however, younger friends and relatives can visit for extended periods. Check your community’s rules to determine the length of visit allowed.

Moving into an adult active or senior living community does not need to be any more stressful than any other move. If you learn the rules of your community in advance and make allowances for the particulars of that community, you can plan on a safe and easy move. is a leading provider of moving services and advice for people who are relocating.

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