Two active adults sitting on a bench in a greespace surrounded by buildings

If your new home just doesn't feel like home, there are many ways to improve your situation and help you enjoy your retirement. 

You really did it. You made the move to an active adult community, conquering all the packing, financial logistics, tough goodbyes, traveling, unpacking, and the general stress that stood in your way. And now, after all of that, the community you’ve settled in just doesn’t feel like home. 

As time passes and the situation doesn’t improve, you start to believe that the community you’ve just moved into isn’t a good fit. After all it took to get there, it’s hard to justify leaving again or to know for sure if that’s the right decision. If this is relatable at all, you’re not alone.

If your community doesn't feel like a good fit, here are some possibilities that may provide a course of action.

Determine What's Troubling You

Each person, home, community, and moving situation is entirely unique. Writing down a list of reasons why you dislike living in your current community beyond “I’m not happy here” will help determine what should come next. Perhaps it’s the size of the community or the distance from family that wasn’t noticeable until move-in. It could be that you haven’t made close friends or found something that excites you yet. Or maybe you don’t like paying homeowners’ association (HOA) fees for amenities you don’t use nearly as much as you anticipated.

Whatever it may be that’s causing unhappiness, this exercise will provide clarity and a little peace of mind. Seeing your honest response on paper will help you decide what’s necessary to do from a place of problem solving rather than frustration or unhappiness. 

See If There’s Anything You Can Change

Sit back and think about ways to solve the dissatisfaction you have with your current community. Really try to give it another chance, no matter how much your mind is determined to leave because it may save a whole lot of moving hassle and costs. 

Try Adapting to the Community

Unless you’re relocating from another one, moving into an active adult community comes with lifestyle changes that take some getting used to. Ask yourself if you’ve done all you can to adapt to the new surroundings. If feeling lonely or alienated is one of the reasons your community isn’t a good fit, pushing yourself to take advantage of all the community has to offer⁠—from social clubs to exercise options⁠—is a great way to feel more like a member of the community or gain like-minded friends.

Also ask yourself if the source of your unhappiness is coming from personal factors more related to retiring, relocation depression, or something else.

Try Changing the Community

Alternatively, if the community isn’t up to standards, maybe they just need a strong resident like you to improve it! This could mean organizing trips and events, establishing a club you wish existed, communicating more with the administration or HOA about problems you want solved, or a million other things. It may feel like it should be someone else’s job, but others will thank you in the long run, and it might make the community feel more like home. And it surely takes less effort than packing everything up again.

Try Giving It Time

In the aftermath of a big move, it’s entirely common to long for your previous life or to wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else. No matter the circumstances, simply spending more time in the community might be the whole solution. The internet can speculate, but there’s no good rule of thumb for how long it takes to adjust to a new home because it’s different for everyone. While the adaptation period may take longer than expected, time may show your current community to be a great fit after all.

Make the Choice to Move On

In a lot of cases, moving out really is the right decision. You’ve given it time and put in the effort to make it work, but deep down you know that the community isn’t right for you. At a certain point, you’ll know when it’s time to stop waiting around and do what will really make you happier. Now, it’s just a question of where to move…

Try A Different Active Adult Community

The silver lining about moving again is that you’re more prepared to make the right decision about your next community. It takes time to find the right place to live and knowing firsthand what to look for and what to avoid is extremely valuable when exploring new communities. Finding a place to call home is an important decision, and now, you’re even more capable of doing it. 

Try Becoming a Half Back

The past decade has seen a growing trend of retirees from the north who flock to popular retirement states like Florida and Arizona, only to realize it’s too hot, too far, or generally not a good fit. As a result, they move halfway back up north (hence the name) to states like Tennessee or the Carolinas that still have lots of active adult communities with endless amenities and a relaxing atmosphere without being so far from home. There are plenty of articles online that discuss this common behavior.

Try Something Different

It may be that a different lifestyle will be a better fit, like independent condo living, moving in with family, a continuing care retirement community, or even a mobile RV home to travel around in. Whatever it is, 55places hopes you find what you’re looking for!