Has your older parent or loved one reached a point that they can no longer take care of themselves or live independently? An assisted living community might be a good option as you explore new avenues to support their ever-changing needs, both now and in the future.
Making the move from living independently to an assisted living home, however, can be very challenging for both you and your loved one. Here are some simple yet effective ways to make the transition to assisted living a positive experience.
What is assisted living?
Assisted living is a form of residential living for older adults who need extra support in daily life. A senior in assisted living may not require 24/7 care, but they might need help with certain tasks, like housekeeping, bathing and getting dressed. Assisted living caregivers help handle these activities of daily living for residents, letting them focus on the things they love while maintaining as much independence as possible.
How can I ease the transition to assisted living?
While assisted living has many benefits, moving your senior loved one into a new community can be stressful and emotional. You can help ease the transition into assisted living by following these tips:
Get to know the community.
Once you have helped your loved one decide on a community, schedule a tour or two so that they can get to know the space before moving in. During the visit, be sure to view your loved one’s new living arrangements, eat in the dining room and get to know other residents or staff members. Check out the community’s on-site amenities like fitness rooms, libraries and social spaces which can enhance the senior living experience and provide your loved one with a variety of new activities to try.
Handle all the details.
It can be a very intimidating experience for seniors to move to a new place. In addition to packing, there are many details to handle and coordinate in preparation for the move. You can help ease these burdens by helping them:
- Arrange their financial matters
- Hire movers or coordinate family to help pack
- Set up their new utilities at the senior community
- Establish their care plan in the community
- Plan their first couple of weeks at the community
Make it feel like home.
It can be helpful for seniors to personalize their new living space as much as possible to make it feel like home. Help your loved one identify some special items, like blankets, photos, lamps or small pieces of furniture, that they can take with them to their new community. These comforting sights and physical reminders of home will bring joy and security to your loved one in their brand new place.
Stay positive throughout the moving process.
Remember, if you are stressed or apprehensive about the transition to assisted living, chances are your loved one will be too. By maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process, you can help your loved one will feel excited and less anxious about their move to assisted living.
Visit them often.
Once your loved one has moved into their new assisted living community, they will likely need time to get acquainted with their new home. Visits from family and friends can help ease this transition and give them something to look forward to as they settle into their new normal.
Ultimately, many families are faced with the difficult decision of moving their senior parent, spouse or loved one to an assisted living community. While it isn’t possible to completely eliminate the stress that comes with a big move, there are ways to make the process smooth and less overwhelming for you and your loved one.