A Jewish retirement community shouldn’t be any different from regular retirement. It involves the culmination of a career, the re-focusing of priorities, and a change of address. The early years of retirement likely include travel, spending time with children and grandchildren, re-connecting with friends and immersing oneself in forgotten hobbies or new interests. Downsizing a house, and moving into a new neighborhood might result in new friendships, and less time required for house and yard work. The overarching theme of any retirement is planning.

A boring and unfulfilling life will result in a boring and unfulfilling retirement. There are important steps that should be taken beforehand – in Jewish retirement communities as well as any other. Establishing a healthy work/life balance before retiring is important – as is maintaining it. Do not take work home on the weekends, do not restrict friendships only to those at work – develop friendships and interests outside, and do not allow one’s identity to be tied into one’s job.

Maintain optimum health while working – exercise, eat, and sleep well. Have a major life purpose other than work – participate in home and family life, cultural traditions, and religious events. Children are unlikely to forget if Mom or Dad missed their bar or bat mitzvah because of a meeting or project that could not be rescheduled. Family should always be more important than work – both before and after a move to a Jewish retirement community. Travel a lot – learn to enjoy it, and cross off some of the more strenuous destinations before deteriorating health or limited mobility become factors. If visiting Israel is on the list, go before safety is too precarious. Instill a love of travel into children so that family vacations to exotic destinations carry on despite the shift from “Mom” to “Grandma”.

Learn new things both at work, and at home. Developing a hobby, or becoming more involved in the synagogue can be one way to find spiritual fulfillment. Spending time alone learning to enjoy silence and solitude is another major step to combat boredom or loneliness. Perhaps a spouse is still working, and alone time will become the normal way of life for a while. Find new ways to connect with the world. One of the joys of a Jewish retirement community is the free time that is available to take a course or join a club. Spending time with peers who have similar interests will generally result in new friends being made, and new toys being purchased – enjoy the fruits of the years of labor!

Financial issues are not the only ones that require advance planning. Pre-retirement courses are available that help deal with personal as well as financial issues. Accept that money will buy style and comfort, but it won’t buy happiness. When one’s life has been dominated for many years by a work schedule and sense of purpose, it is easy to become depressed when these things are gone. Hard work is an idol of sorts, especially when one’s identity is tied to the job. The Jewish retirement community also involves learning how to re-focus energies into enjoying life and leisure. The right attitude can accomplish anything.

This guest post was written by Marquita Tegethoff, on behalf of Palm Court, a resident family that helps you enjoy your retirement in style. To know how you can cut down on the boredom of retired life, you may also visit About.com.