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Moving to a New Home Later in Life: Adjusting to Your New Home

By Peter Keers January 13, 2024 Lifestyle

Throughout the prior installments of this Sixty and Me blog series, I’ve covered the many facets of deciding to move to a new home later in life and how to prepare. Once you’ve moved, how do you adjust to your new living quarters and community?

All Those Boxes

If you followed the tips in the blog on preparing for your move, unpacking should be straightforward.

One of the first things to do is set up your bed and some tables and chairs so you can rest during the process. Next, unpack some of your favorite things to help you feel like this is your place. It could be a favorite picture or a special item that signifies you are at home.

Basic Arrival Chores

Take these practical steps to avoid headaches down the road.

Are the Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Working?

Replace batteries or entire units if necessary.

Are There Repair or Maintenance Issues?

Before unloading anything, walk through your new living space to spot anything that needs fixing or clean-up. If renting, alert the landlord. If you are the owner, make this your “to-do” list to keep your new home in top-notch shape.

Tell the State You’re Here

Moving across state lines? You may need to file a document called “Declaration of Domicile” to let the state know you’re a new resident ready to pay taxes. Check on the specific rules about declaring residency in your new state.

Register to Vote

It’s easy to forget this detail, so spare yourself problems on election day by registering as soon as possible. Also, look up the state and local government representatives who cover your area.

Where Are the City and County Offices?

Knowing where to find City Hall, the county service center, the police department, and the closest fire station can speed up getting help from the local government if needed.

Change Your Driver’s License

You may be able to use your old license legally for a while, but having a picture ID with your new address can help avoid many hassles. You may also need to register your vehicles in your new location. Check local rules concerning this to avoid future problems with law enforcement.

Get Out and Explore

It’s time to learn about your new community. Do a Google search on “stores near me” to compile a list of local businesses. Also, look for interesting destinations like coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, gyms, museums, theaters, and community centers.

You’ll also want to know where to find the post office, parks, trails, libraries and recycling centers. For churchgoers, look for congregations in the area to find service times.

Making Connections

If your move has taken you away from your friends, it’s time to make new personal connections. Here are some tips for developing a new social network.

What’s Your Mindset?

If you’re an extrovert, making new friends might be easier. For many of us, however, getting out of our comfort zone takes more effort. Maintain a positive attitude and remind yourself that making friends takes time. Challenge yourself to take some social risks. It might be a slow process, and not everyone you contact wants to make a connection. Don’t take it personally and keep trying. Eventually, you’ll start to develop some satisfying social connections.

Your Peer Group

Connecting with people your age often is the easiest way to make friends. Moving into 55+ communities has this component built in. If you’re in an environment for all ages, look for local activities and venues with people closer to your age.


Neighbors are often curious about newcomers. Take advantage of this curiosity by reaching out to introduce yourself. It takes no time at all, and you can provide a note with your name and address so it’s easier for both parties to follow up.

Don’t Forget Old Friends

It’s a breeze to keep in touch with your existing friends via telephone and social media. Keeping in touch with your existing connections can help before your new social networks develop.

Use Social Media

Social media can help connect to people in your new community. Sites like Facebook Groups or can help you find people with similar interests.

Sign Up

Enrolling in classes or workshops is a terrific way to meet people with common interests. Also, volunteering in the community at schools, churches, homeless shelters, food pantries, political parties, or city projects is a way to connect with like-minded people.

Successfully moving to a new location later in life involves a lot of forethought and planning. Taking logical steps throughout the process can help reduce stress in a time of many changes. Other stress-reducing tips are to be patient and expect ups and downs. Maintaining this mental and emotional flexibility will go a long way toward making your move go smoothly.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What was the first box you unpacked after your most recent move? How did your life start in your new home and town? Which services and local shops did you look for first?

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I have moved MANY times and am planning a last, and I hope, final move in a few months. Having moved so many times has made me pretty expert at packing, and I have learned many things along the way, especially about what to open first. I make sure I pack a box that says something like, “open first”, and I might have extension cords, batteries, box cutters, and maybe some simple tools in there. If I have access to the apartment prior to the big move, I buy toilet tissue, paper towels, and water and leave them in the new place. Once I get there, I usually tackle the kitchen boxes first. The main thing that will be helpful is to mark your boxes clearly prior to the move so that once you get there, you’ll know where your things are, and if you don’t feel like unpacking right away, you can just go to the box that has whatever you need at the moment and save the rest for the next day. I usually scope out the neighborhood pretty good before I make the move, because I don’t drive so I have to make sure there is a supermarket and laundromat nearby, and to find out where the public transportation is. Once that’s established, if I haven’t had much time to check out the area, I just unpack the boxes mentioned above and then take myself out for lunch or dinner and walk around my new neighborhood.

Nella Taylor

What about those of us who may be moving to some type of senior facility?


Some good advice from the author and comments from readers. Other thoughts that come to mind are to check with your Town Hall and see if there is a “Welcome Wagon” available and get on their list. They can be valuable resources of information about your new area. See if there is a senior center and check out activities to join, usually all have lunch programs. What works in changing your living area is to be open to new possibilities and make new friends.

Renee Lovitz

My situation was a bit different. My husband died and I am still in the process of making my house for myself. Got rid of some things, got new furniture, and moving things around so things are where I need them. It’s sort of like a new house.
Very different now but same neighbors and community. Still lots of changes.

Ciara Roots

I’m going to be moving back to the area where I grew up after living 1100 miles away for 40 years. While my family is all in the area where I’ll be moving, and I still have a few connections from high school, I will be setting up a new network.

One of the things I’m doing as I’m looking for a new home is to check out the crime rate in the areas I’m considering. Also, is the property in a flood or fire zone. I’m also looking at the diversity of the area: I love living in a diverse neighborhood, with neighbors of all races, ages, and ethnicities. That’s important to me. Are there doctors, dentists, and other medical practitioners and facilities close by? Are there outdoor spaces where I can walk and enjoy nature? Are there outdoor fairs and festivals? What is the arts and music scene like? Is there a college or university nearby where I can take classes? I am not religious, but are there meet-ups or discussion groups where interesting people gather for spirited conversation? Am I looking at neighborhoods where people’s political beliefs promote peace, not violence?

These are all things that are important to me. Before I purchase a home, which undoubtedly will be my last one, I want to be sure I am living in an area that’s right for me.

C. L.

Ciara, loved all your specific considerations for your new spot! Thank you.


I very much agree with your points here but wish to put out a warning to all regarding crime; I moved to a seemingly decent apartment building occupied by mostly seniors A year ago. The superintendent seemed considerate at first but then I noticed her being overly friendly. I went on a short vacation and let a few people know I would be away, when I returned I found my passport in the bottom of my laundry basket which I would never do- I had some extremely valuable jewellery hidden in nondescript bags in my closet thinking that no one would rummage through and find it. You can guess the rest it had been picked through and the most valuable pieces with diamonds, stones etc. were gone. I couldn’t prove anything and I’m devastated at the huge loss-family heirlooms,expensive diamond treasures I’ve collected etc. I now have installed security cameras and what is left is in a safety deposit box. Be very wary of who you trust.


So sorry to hear of your loss, not just of your precious things but of your trust as well. Good advice and point taken. I wonder how many others in your building have shared a similar tale of woe?


Me too It is caused a division and a loss of some pseudo-friends who side with the super. Because of the lack of housing for seniors I am stuck here otherwise I would have flown away.

The Author

Peter Keers is a writer and video blogger focusing on topics for the over-50 audience. Defining himself as a curious seeker, Peter’s interests range across both the art and the science of living an authentic and fulfilling life in the 21st century. See Peter’s eBooks on travel, long-term care, Medicare and other topics at

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