The secret to enjoying retirement living

Seniors don't need to miss much about a previous home when they move on their own terms and embrace a new lifestyle

Resident enjoying gardening at Amica Bronte Harbour

It’s hard not to smile when Joyce speaks glowingly about what she appreciates about her life at Amica Bronte Harbour, a senior-living residence in Oakville, Ont. 

“The building is wonderful, we love our suite; we love the view from our apartment. The management we find very pleasant, very cooperative, knowledgeable and always ready to assist if you have a problem. All the people who work here, from the cleaners to the maintenance staff, are absolutely wonderful. [They’re] friendly, accessible, helpful, accommodating. The service staff are as wonderful as the management.”

Once upon a time, downsizing from the family home to retirement living wasn’t exactly a choice seniors were eager to make, much less endorse. But, since organizations like Amica have been creating lifestyle residences that blend hospitality, care and amenities to reflect the discerning tastes and evolving needs of modern seniors, more residents like Joyce are enjoying the upsides of retirement living. 

“Moving here was an unanticipated joy,” she shares. This shift came at a crucial time for the senior as her husband was recovering from major heart surgery. 

“We were quite happy to move, because then I wouldn’t have to do everything. I had been looking after him, the house, the garden, everything. It was crucial that we got out of the house — it had become a burden,” Joyce reflects. 

Below, the Amica Bronte Harbour resident shares five reasons she’s finding joy in her new home.

1. Central location

Joyce and her husband settled on moving to Bronte Harbour in Oakville to be closer to family, and they toured seven or eight retirement options in the area. “We picked Amica, because it’s a beautiful building near the lake. We’d lived on the lake before, so it was important to us to maintain that connection,” says Joyce. 

“We can walk to shopping, a pharmacy, doctors, and the supermarket. We have a car, but I don’t know how long we’ll be driving. Public transportation goes right by the front door. Everything around here is bright and cheery: lots of light, elegant and everything about it is really nice.”

2. Excellent activities

There’s no shortage of activities at Amica Bronte Harbour to keep Joyce busy. “I like to go to water fit classes, and I use the fitness centre,” she says. “I’m an avid reader, so I use the library, and it’s nice not to have to leave the building to do that, or I can take the residence bus once a week to the public library.” 

She continues: “I go to watch movies after supper, whereas my husband likes watching sports in our suite. I go on excursions with the group.” 

There’s no need to change your lifestyle. “I’m a busy person, so I do volunteer work, explains Joyce. “There’s a solarium and a roof garden, and I’m on the gardening committee. I’d never played cards before, but I learned to play bridge and euchre, so that’s a new experience for me. You can be as busy as you want to be, and I really enjoy keeping busy.”

3. Building friendships

Senior living has also expanded a shrinking social circle. “We’ve made wonderful friends here,” Joyce enthusiastically shares. “Many of our former neighbourhood friends were either dying or moving away.” 

She adds: “Coming here, we’ve found a new group of friends and people we have things in common with. There are people here with double PhDs, people who have lived or worked in countries around the world. You can learn about anything just by talking to people!”

4. Staying in control

For Joyce and her husband, moving to Amica was their decision, and that’s made a difference. “People who’ve been sent here by their families are not nearly as happy,” says the resident, whose children were supportive of the decision to move to senior living. (Helpful resource: download our “Guide to starting a conversation about senior living.”) 

“[Some residents] miss their homes, their stuff, their lives. We got past all that. It was our choice to move to Amica, so I think that made it easier for us. We miss some big stuff, but we brought things that were precious to us, and we’re content to have those items. They’re like old friends.” (Helpful resource: download our "Downsizing Guide for Senior Living.")

5. Embracing a new life

Joyce and her husband have opened an exciting new chapter. “I don’t miss anything about the house. We were losing our social circle, so even if I was still living there, I wouldn’t have my friends. 

She continues: “When I hear people complaining about missing their old life, I say, ‘That book is closed. Now you’ve got a new book. You might be surprised by what you’re going to find on the pages.’ If you’ve got a husband or a wife, that’s important. If you’ve got a family, that’s important. The rest that you’ve left behind is just stuff — it’s not important.”

How to keep your joy as you transition to retirement living

Joyce certainly enjoys retirement living, relishing in the comforts of her life at Amica Bronte Harbour. And, she’s not alone in successfully settling into this next chapter. Below are nine ways to make the most of retirement living.

1. Charting a new journey

Life unfolds differently for everyone, and retirement living is no exception. Some dive into the new phase headfirst, while others need time to adjust. 

Take this moment to reflect on past dreams and aspirations, because there’s still time to make them a reality. Embrace this new chapter with the enthusiasm of starting a fresh, exciting book. Remember this journey is uniquely yours to shape according to your hopes and dreams. 

For many, the autonomy independent living at Amica affords can be a true turning point in their retirement journey, finally allowing them time to relish in their hobbies and less demanding schedule.

2. Establishing a comforting routine

Starting the day with joy helps steer it into the right direction. Whether that means tuning into your favourite radio show, cooking a hearty breakfast, or sipping a hot cup of coffee while you browse the headlines — it can make a difference. 

Lunchtime could be ideal for a pleasant walk. In the evening, perhaps you may want to dust before enjoying quality downtime with the new page-turner from one of Amica’s residence libraries. 

Making these little habits creates a comforting routine, something you naturally follow, especially on days when your schedule’s light. Welcome this pattern and tailor it to your liking. 

These routines can serve as anchors during times of uncertainty, offering guidance as you navigate this phase of your retirement journey with confidence and a sense of purpose.

3. Prioritize your well-being

Our well-being is invaluable. Whether you promised to incorporate more physical activity into your retirement-living plan, or your doctor recommended it, healthy habits don’t need to be daunting. Your health journey is an ongoing, gentle exploration of self-care and vitality.

  • Try meditating for two minutes a day. Then, work your way up to five or 10 minutes a day.
  • Focus on your breathing, and enjoy experiencing a sense of control.
  • Go for a walk in a part of your neighbourhood you haven’t explored before. If the weather isn’t on your side, head to your local mall for a lap or two.
  • Drink more water by adding a glass for every other beverage you drink. You could also get a water bottle with guides to mark your consumption throughout the day.

4. Nourish your body

What you eat is important, but how you enjoy your meals is equally crucial. Savouring the flavours, whether you’ve prepared the meal or not, forms a healthy connection with eating well. When you enjoy your food, you experience a different level of satisfaction. 

If you’re not in the mood for adventurous recipes, tweak your favourite dishes. For example, consider vegetable noodles instead of regular pasta. You could also introduce new spices to shake up a familiar casserole. Get creative and experiment with diverse cuisines; you might be pleasantly surprised by the flavours that excite your taste buds. 

Understandably, you might be uninspired to try something new or improve your diet without a little help. While independent living affords many benefits, perhaps one of the most coveted by Amica’s residents is quality meals. With à la carte options and menus prepared with the finest ingredients, you don’t have to be the chef anymore.

5. Keep a journal

Documenting your experiences and thoughts as you embrace this stage of retirement living can be a unique way to chronicle your life story. 

A journal is a safe space to express your thoughts, while revisiting and reliving fond memories and experiences. If writing isn’t your passion, consider getting a journal with daily prompts to help you ease into the process and get words flowing.   

6. Pursue and achieve your goals

Finding joy in accomplishments, no matter their size, is still possible in retirement living. Whether you wish to walk an extra mile or embark on a seasonal road trip, tap into your passions and hobbies to set achievable goals. 

While trying new activities can be rewarding, choose attainable goals to keep motivated, inspiring growth and self-discovery. 

You might even look inward to the amenities available at Amica for goal-setting ideas, such as eating lunch outside on nice days, keeping your look fresh at the salon, or growing a garden at the on-site greenhouse. 

7. Seize new opportunities

Before retirement living, saying “no” to invitations or avoiding new experiences might have been the norm due to the stress of caring for yourself, your partner and your house. Now, your schedule is in your hands. Make the most of this time to broaden your horizons and embrace a “yes” mindset: 

  • volunteer locally at an organization close to your heart
  • attend an event or festival that piques your interest
  • tour a museum or art gallery to keep your mind active
  • enrol in a course or class to acquire a new skill or deepen your knowledge

8. Prepare for life’s ups and downs

Retirement living isn’t perfect; it’s about maintaining a balance between peaks and valleys. While you may not always foresee when or where changes will occur, rest assured they will. 

Embrace your emotions and be gentle with yourself as you navigate this remarkable phase of life. Navigating life’s ups and downs is a testament to your resilience and inner strength.

9. Look at the big picture

Retirement living gives you the chance to enjoy life’s special moments, without having to worry about maintaining a house. 

It’s natural to feel a sense of loss or apprehension about the unknown future. But don’t stop planning. Continue to live in the moment, discovering what a life well-lived means to you. As you explore possibilities, take note of what works for you. 

This phase of your retirement offers you a blank canvas to embrace with open arms and an adventurous spirit. It can be an ideal time to consider your responsibilities and how they blend with this phase of your life. With independent living at Amica, you can enjoy the freedom you desire without compromise.

Easing into retirement living at Amica

At Amica, we cultivate a sense of community to enhance the retirement experience and offer the luxury you’re used to enjoying. Whether you’re seeking to downsize or embark on a new adventure in a premium setting, our residences are thoughtfully situated in charming neighbourhoods, with a special dedication to helping you enjoy retirement living at its best.

We liberate you from the hassles of homeownership, including maintenance and property management, to expand your freedom. This newfound freedom allows you to explore your surroundings with fresh enthusiasm, focusing on activities that truly bring you joy. 

Our culinary offerings, prepared by skilled chefs, and amenities empower you to lead an active and enriching lifestyle where you can prioritize your physical and mental well-being. 

In an Amica community, you’ll find the perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and the opportunity to embark on a fulfilling retirement journey.

Learn more about how residents are enjoying excellent amenities, activities, flexible dining and personalized care at Amica senior-living residences. Schedule a private tour today.