Moving into a new retirement community can feel a lot like being the “new kid in school.” Some may experience anxiety when deciding to make the move from a home where they are comfortable to somewhere new. They may wonder, “will I make new friends? Will I experience the feeling of being at home again?”
Resident-driven communities can help ease these anxieties. In most cases, retirement communities that are directed by the residents themselves have been shown to promote a closeness between residents and staff members, and sometimes they even grow to treat each other like family. Because the residents take charge of the community they live in, it creates a comforting feeling of being at home.
What is a resident-driven community?
A resident-driven community is exactly what it sounds like. Residents take ownership of their community by planning activities and events that they enjoy. Most resident-driven communities form committees and groups of like-minded people to meet weekly or monthly to enjoy the topic or activity in which they are most interested.
Wondering what the committees and groups at a resident-driven community look like? If you’re a movie buff, you could join a movie committee that obtains and schedules movies for all residents to enjoy. Or, say you’re interested in journalism or photography. You could join a community newsletter committee that shares news and events throughout the community.
If there isn’t a group or committee that interests you, you can request that one be added or give an idea of a committee or group to be formed.
The best part is, you don’t have to be a part of a certain committee to enjoy what they offer. These groups and committees plan activities for all residents to enjoy. Some activity examples include lifelong learning classes, day trips and fun social events.
Generating a Close-Knit Community
One of the many benefits of a resident-driven community is the closeness the structure promotes between residents, as well as between residents and the staff.
How? The committees and groups generated by the residents give new residents a chance to “break the ice” with their neighbors. New residents can join in on the activities planned by the committees and get to know residents who share similar interests. They can also join a committee or group that they are interested in to be a part of the planning process.
Most resident-driven communities invite the staff to get involved too! It’s a chance for residents to really get to know the staff when they are “off duty” and form new friendships.
First-Name Basis at The Admiral the Lake
The Admiral at the Lake is a resident-driven community with many committees and groups in which to get involved. These committees plan a variety of events that both residents and staff can enjoy.
These committees and activities have helped nurture the closeness that is felt when you live at The Admiral.
“Some residents who have lived in high rises all their lives never got the chance to know their neighbors and never were friends with people in the building they lived in,” explained Jennifer Deitelhoff, Director of Resident Services for Independent Living at The Admiral at the Lake. “At The Admiral at the Lake, everybody knows everyone, especially the staff members. They know each other by name instead of the ‘housekeeping lady’ or the ‘maintenance guy.’ You don’t have the sense of ‘them’ and ‘us’ as the staff hardly ever use their titles. They are essentially a part of the community.”
Become a Part of The Admiral Community
“Our closeness and transparency differentiate The Admiral from its competitors,” Jennifer said. “We treat each other like family and we are open and honest with each other.”
Jennifer’s advice to those who are interested in The Admiral at the Lake is to “take a chance and take a look around. We have a great Be Our Guest program that allows you to meet the residents and also try out our activities such as fitness and art classes.”