Making the transition to assisted living can be challenging for seniors. It is common for older adults to feel sad about leaving their family homes and belongings behind, even if an illness or health issue prompted the move.
While moving an older parent or spouse to assisted living can be an emotional process, there are ways you can help your loved one feel at home with their new space, routine and community.
Tour the community before the move.
Before you move your loved one into assisted living, take them on a tour of the community at least once. While you are there, check out their new room, eat a meal in the dining area and explore the community’s amenities. Your loved one will feel more comfortable when it comes time to move if they feel familiar with the space and have met a few caregivers or residents.
Make it look like home.
As your loved one prepares to downsize to assisted living, think about the cherished items they should bring with them to help them make their new space look and feel like home. Select smaller pieces of furniture, like a favorite chair or lamp, or bring their favorite blankets and throw pillows to make the new space feel safe and cozy. Picture frames of the family and homemade crafts from grandkids can add warmth and personality to their new home. The more you can replicate aspects of their previous residence, the more comfortable your loved one will feel in their new assisted living community.
Establish a routine.
As your loved one settles into their new community, help them establish a daily routine. A predictable schedule will provide a sense of comfort as they go about day-to-day living in their new home. Encourage them to participate in activities that can help them feel connected to the community. This may include dining with other residents, taking a group fitness class or joining a book club. Before long, your loved one will be building new friendships and finding new activities to look forward to every day.
Visit your loved ones often.
Lastly, remember that the transition to assisted living will be a big adjustment for everyone. As your senior parent or loved one settles into their new space, set aside time to visit them frequently in the first couple of weeks. Even a daily text or phone call can help ease the transition and remind them that you have not forgotten them.
Remember that change, even when it’s good, can be difficult to manage. It may take some time for your parent or older loved one to adjust to living in a new place. Once a level of familiarity and comfort with their new environment and neighbors has been achieved, seniors can truly begin to flourish in their new home.