Change is not easy at any age. For an aging loved one who wishes to age in place in the home, starting the conversation about moving to assisted living may present some unique challenges. However, it’s important to remember that your loved one’s safety and quality of life may be at stake. If you’ve started to notice a decline in mental or physical health, or that everyday tasks are becoming more difficult, talking about future needs is vital. The last thing you want is to wait until a real crisis occurs that can compromise your loved one’s independence indefinitely.
During the transition to assisted living, your loved one will undoubtedly go through an adjustment period as they adapt to a new routine, get settled into a new living space and meet a lot of new people. They may also mourn the loss of their long-time home and all the memories it was filled with. In some cases, they could even feel like their independence is being taken away. However, you can help your loved one face these changes, making sure he or she becomes as comfortable as possible throughout the adjustment period.
Here are five ways to make moving to assisted living easier on your loved one:
1. Provide some extra attention. Throughout the “mourning phase,” family members should be prepared to provide their loved one with extra attention. Assure him or her that you will be there every step of the way, from helping with the move to visiting or calling as often as possible.
2. Encourage visits to the assisted living community before the move. Help your loved one get acquainted with staff members and other residents by visiting the community before the move. This will allow both of you to get a true feel for the surroundings and provide peace of mind that your loved one’s needs will be promptly attended to, and that other residents enjoy living there.
3. Avoid becoming overprotective.While you should of course visit or call frequently after the move, give your loved one time to settle in and adapt to the new environment. Allow him or her to feel in charge of making decisions, even if it’s just about where to place personal items in the new living space. Becoming too overprotective can be counter-productive in helping your loved one maintain a sense of independence.
4. Replicate the home. It’s likely that your loved one will be downsizing from his or her current home, so while not all personal belongings can make the move, pick out some knick-knacks, keepsakes or photographs that have significance. Familiar items will make the new living space comfortable and homey, and will help ease some of the sadness your loved one may feel about leaving the home.
5. Encourage social participation. Social wellness is vital to overall quality of life, so your loved one should be encouraged to get to know his or her neighbors and take part in the many scheduled social activities the assisted living community offers. You can even attend some of the activities with him or her initially to help your loved one make some new friends and stay busy. Often, providing your loved one with the reassurance that he or she is simply entering a new phase of life can make all the difference in a successful transition to assisted living.
Dacier Manor at Advent Christian Village is a vital part of our continuum of care. Your loved one will enjoy bright and cheerful private or semi-private rooms that can be customized to feel just like home. Let us enhance your loved one’s life today! Contact us to visit our beautiful senior living community or to request more information.