Moving a loved one into an assisted living community isn’t without its challenges. Any move can be stressful, but older adults face challenges that others do not.
Assisted living communities provide a full suite of amenities and opportunities to become acquainted with the new environment and neighbors. In fact, older adults report preferring assisted living to home healthcare. But moving from living alone to an assisted living community requires a transition process. Here are a few tips to help you and your loved one adjust.
Visit the Community Beforehand
Not knowing what to expect can be a source of anxiety for anyone making a move. To make things easier, visit the community in the days leading up to the move. Make a point to stop by when activities are going on that your loved one will likely enjoy, such as game time or movie night. You may find your loved one actually starts to get excited about the move. Scheduling a tour of any community you’re interested in will remove any mystery around it and allow you to ask important questions.
Have a Moving Party
One of the most difficult parts of moving to senior living is the downsizing required. Making it an event can help. Invite friends and relatives over to go through items and take a trip down memory lane. This will help to separate memories from material possessions. Cherished items often will be given to family members or put into storage, this gives the family peace of mind that those items are still close.
Make It a Home
When you or your loved one arrive at your new home, it’s important that it feels like home. This includes bringing cherished items like photos, plants, and miscellaneous knickknacks for décor. You can even bring favorite blankets and small appliances like microwaves. Check with the community to see what items are allowed before move-in.
Work with Counselors
The counselors working at the community will be your best resource after settling in. Explain to them any concerns you have. If your loved one needs special care, make sure that’s mentioned along with the standard care that will be provided. If you’re concerned at any time, pick up the phone and call. Chances are, the counselors will be all too happy to let you know how your loved one is adjusting.
Give It Time
It takes time to adjust to any change. Typically, allow at least three to six months to adjust to the new environment, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t happen immediately. Try to resist the urge to micromanage the process, giving your loved one the opportunity to discover their own independence in the new location. Send gifts or flowers occasionally and feel free to call just to say “hi.” But make sure your loved one isn’t so rooted in the past, there’s no chance to enjoy the present.
Although any move can take some adjustment, there are a few things you can do to make the transition to assisted living a little easier. It’s important to be patient and know that an adjustment can take some time. Often someone simply needs some time to settle in and make new friends.
To learn about the programs we offer or to ask any questions about assisted living, feel free to contact us!