senior couple riding bikes through Henry Ford Village campus


Consider for a second your thoughts on retirement life. What comes to mind? What did you picture? The days on the golf course? The financial planning? The home tours? No matter what you thought about, you brainstormed within the framework of four key emotional stages of retirement.

Although no two retirements are the same, this guide will highlight some tips that can help you figure out where you are in your journey, and how to plan for the various stages. Better yet, how to learn more about the strengths of living in a Life Plan Community like Henry Ford Village


  • Insight: This stage can last 5 to 15 or more years before your actual retirement date. Although many focus on the financial planning aspect of this stage, many don’t spend enough time on the emotional planning, such as making sure you find happiness and purpose in this stage of life. This is a great time to think about what’s important and make lifestyle changes, such as deciding where you want to live and when you want to make the move.
  • Tips: Set some goals and expectations for your retirement beyond the financials. This is a great time to assess your needs, wants, and facts before making a big decision. Take the time to do some research on what kind of lifestyle you are looking for and have some fun in deciding what amenities and services are at the top of your list. Once you decide on what retirement lifestyle is best for you, you can start researching communities that you feel connected to and a place that you’re proud to call home.

For more goal setting and assessment check out our Goodlife Guidebook:


  • Insight: As retirement draws near, it’s normal to feel both excited and nervous. Although this stage is a time of excitement and anticipation, it is also common to have some uncertainty at this stage. Anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed can get in the way of making this stage a smoother experience. Take advantage of this time to think outside of all the responsibilities that have defined you and reimagine the possibilities of all the new experiences you will get to have. This is a great time to make a list of specific activities you’d like to try in retirement and get ready for the move. Take advantage of this time to organize, declutter, and utilize moving and financial resources to help make this decision go smoothly.

For more on evaluating the costs, use our handy comparison tool:


  • Insight: This independence phase of retirement occurs at the official beginning and can 
last from one to two years after retirement. Often, people are enjoying feelings of excitement, relief, and freedom from the stress and responsibilities of your day-to-day working life. People in this phase are usually busy reconnecting with family, friends, and spouses, and spending time on hobbies, traveling, and starting new ventures.
  • Tips: In this stage, you have the freedom to create your own schedule. A time to get some much-needed rest, reconnect with old friends, or enjoy learning something new. Whether your time is full of activities, events, hobbies, or volunteering, it is a great time to do more of what you love.

Get a feel for life at Henry Ford Village with a virtual event:


  • Insight: Unfortunately, the Honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever and after a year or 
two, you might start to identify a desire for something deeper. It is a good time to think beyond the honeymoon phase and determine what your daily retirement life really looks like. You may find yourself wondering what to do with unstructured days or even find that your job was a bigger part of your identity, self-esteem, and social life than you thought. Unfortunately, it may also be a reminder that you and/or your partner are getting older and your goals and what is important to you in retirement might be changing.
  • Tips: As reality sets in, often we find ourselves re-evaluating our plan as needs change. For many, this is a good time to prioritize overall well-being and long-term peace of mind. This is a good stage to volunteer, participate in senior center activities, and most importantly build social connections that increase happiness and longevity. You may want to consider spending more time with loved ones, doing activities, and spending time with friends—all of which are made easier with a move to a retirement senior living community where you can age in place. It’s important to live where home supports and engages the mind, body, and spirit—which are key to long-term happiness.

More on health and wellness at Henry Ford Village:

Think again back to our earlier exercise. Can you see the stage where your thoughts fit in? Knowing where you are is the best way to see where you’re going. We hope you found this guide helpful and will continue your senior living research journey.

To speak with Henry Ford Village about options and a plan, or to schedule a virtual visit call 877-669-0728 or schedule an appointment.