When our loved ones get to the point that they can no longer take care of themselves or live entirely on their own, assisted living communities or retirement homes are often on the list of possible options for living and appropriate care. Making the move from independent living to an assisted living facility can be very emotionally difficult for both you and your loved one. There are a few great ways to make this transition a bit less overwhelming and somewhat natural for everyone involved.
1. Include Your Parent in All Decisions
Having to admit that they need help is a sore spot for most elderly folks. The thought that they can no longer rely entirely on themselves is humbling and possibly frustrating, so it’s really important to consider and validate your parent’s opinions as you work through the selection process and make decisions about the details of the care and amenities they’ll receive. Playing an active role in the decision making process will ease the disappointment they may feel as they lose some independence.
Tour communities together, look at the rooms, talk to current residents and staff, and find out what activities are available on a regular basis. Being comfortable, engaged, and familiar with their new home will really help your loved one to settle in and enjoy their new environment.
2. Make Pre-Move Visits
Once you’ve picked a specific senior living community or retirement home, take your parent to visit several times before the final move occurs. Doing so will allow your loved one to get used to the layout of the building and its grounds, get to know some of the staff and other residents, and become familiar with the daily schedule. Knowing what to expect and creating connections beforehand will really increase you and your parent’s comfort level as he or she moves in permanently.
3. Encourage Your Loved One to Get Involved
Making friends and maintaining interests is essential to your parent’s health and happiness at any assisted living community. Look over the schedule of activities and special events together and help your parent pick out some daily or weekly classes, clubs, or family-friendly events to attend. Visit often and take part in these social gatherings whenever possible, and encourage other friends and family to do the same. Being an involved and active member of a senior living community will give your parent a sense of purpose, and seeing friends and family getting involved will help them to feel that they haven’t lost touch with what’s going on in the lives of those outside the community.
4. Make it “Just Like Home”
Ask your parent to identify some items from their home, specifically their bedroom, that they’d like to use to decorate their new room. Use blankets, photos, lamps or small pieces of furniture, and knick-knacks to recreate the ambiance of home. These comforting sights and physical reminders of home will bring joy to your parent in a brand new place.
5. Ask for Help
Managing the responsibilities that go into moving a loved one from a home or apartment to an assisted living community can be quite overwhelming. You may have to sell their home, store furniture, hold an estate sale, and take care of bills. All of this is too much for an individual to handle alone. Enlist the help of other family members and trusted friends when downsizing, packing up and storing belongings, and deciding what to do with special items that need to be kept in the family or those that should be sold. These obligations and decisions should never fall on the shoulders of one person.
Contact Your Local Senior Living Community
At Paramount Senior Living, we strive to make each resident’s transition as smooth as possible. We would love to welcome you and your loved one for a tour of one of our beautiful communities so that you can get to know us and experience what daily life would be like as a resident. Call us today to schedule your tour!