Moving is difficult at any age. It can be mentally and physically exhausting. For older adults, however, making the transition from a home they have lived in for decades to an assisted living community can be even more challenging.
Many seniors have lived in their homes for many decades. They have memories of raising a family there, and a home full of treasured belongings they may not be willing to leave behind.
So what can families do to help an aging loved one make a smooth transition to assisted living? Here are six ways to make it easier.
1. Plan Ahead
When it comes to planning for your loved one’s future, considering assisted living as a long-term option early on can be beneficial, even if it’s not imminent.
Discuss this topic with your family members and your loved one to gauge how they feel about it, even if it seems unnecessary at the time. Do some high-level research on what assisted living entails and how much it might cost.
Overall, it’s better to be mentally prepared should you be faced with a situation that requires a timely decision regarding your loved one’s future.
2. Make It Feel Like Home
If you and your loved one are already in the process of moving to assisted living, plan to bring whatever makes home feel more like home to them. This may include:
- And more
The idea is to quickly create an environment that is familiar to them. Make sure possessions that couldn’t make the move find a new home with children, grandchildren or other family members. That will help give your loved one peace of mind.
3. Work With Staff Before the Move
One of the keys to a smooth transition to an assisted living community is for your loved one and the staff to get to know one another. You can help make this happen more quickly by sharing your loved one’s preferences and interests before the move.
Do they like to eat dinner early? Is attending a fellowship service of some kind important to them each week? Do they enjoy playing cards in the evening with friends? These are the kinds of details that can help the staff support your loved one’s transition.
4. Balance Family Visits with Community Activities
While you don’t want your loved one to feel as if you moved them and then abandoned them, you also don’t want to hold their hand too much. That may prevent them from becoming involved in their new community and making new friends.
Set up a schedule indicating when family and friends will visit the first few weeks. Share that with your loved one. Then encourage them to join in on the events and activities that take place every day in an assisted living community.
5. Get to Know the Staff
The assisted living staff will be integral to your loved one’s adjustment to their new home. These are the people who will see and care for your loved one every day.
Socialize with the staff members and get to know them by name. Ask about their families. The closer the bond you build with them, the more comfortable you will feel leaving your loved one in their hands.
6. Prepare for a Few Bumps
Your loved one may initially be a bit melancholy about all they had to give up to make this move. From their perspective, it probably feels like they gave up everything. Most have given up their memory-filled home and many of their cherished possessions. So prepare for teary times and try to stay positive.
If you’ve researched your options and feel confident in your choice, the transition will get better each week. Before long, they may be too busy to fit you into their schedule!
Assisted Living at The Bristal
Discover more resources for transitioning to assisted living! Find out why assisted living is such a great option for seniors, and learn more about what to bring with you when you move to a new community.
Do you have questions about how to pay for assisted living? Download our free cost comparison guide.