Assisted living communities provide conveniences and support that an elderly person doesn’t usually have at home. Many benefits come with moving an aging loved one into a senior care facility.
However, the process isn’t always that easy. For many seniors, the thought of assisted living is scary. It may feel like a loss of independence. The nursing homes of long ago have painted an unpleasant picture of what this type of situation looks like, even though it’s far from the truth today.
Assisted living communities provide everything an elderly person needs, even beyond medicine, food, and shelter. They provide socialization and opportunities to make new friends. They host on-site events and gatherings, which provide entertainment and enrichment. The modern approach to senior care is more holistic than it used to be. Assisted living isn’t just about health, it’s also about happiness and wellbeing.
While this may be true, it’s not always easy to convince someone that assisted living will offer them a better way of life as they age. Even as the activities of daily living become more challenging or even impossible to handle on their own, some seniors are reluctant to make the move.
When the time comes, it’s important to provide support for your loved one. They need reassurance that you will be there and that they will continue to live life as independently as possible after moving into assisted living.
What can you do to help your loved one adapt to life in an assisted living community?
Plan a Tour Before Move-In Day
Moving into a new place can be intimidating at any age. Getting familiar with their new surroundings will help your loved one prepare. Plan a tour of the assisted living facility before move-in day. Let your parent or grandparent see what’s available and get acquainted with the layout of the facility. Eliminating some of the uncertainty will make your loved one feel more confident.
You can also say hello to the residents and staff. Your loved one may find someone who they have things in common with before they move in. Homes like Vista Living Senior Care favor a cozy residential atmosphere that makes residents feel right at home.
Call us or visit our website to schedule a tour before your loved one moves in.
Bring Personal Belongings into their New Home
Transitioning to assisted living usually means downsizing. Seniors going from a single-family home to a room or apartment will likely have to offload many belongings. This can be a difficult and emotional process.
Plan to bring in some meaningful items that can remain with them in assisted living. The size and quantity will depend on available space. Choose their favorite decorations, collectibles, memorabilia, or keepsakes. These can be used to personalize their assisted living accommodations.
You may even be able to bring in small pieces of furniture, like a chair or nightstand. Talk to the assisted living facility if you have questions about what can be brought in.
Help Your Loved One Get Settled In
Even if you are paying someone else to move your loved one into their assisted living community, you should be there to help. Your presence will be calming and reassuring. You can also help your loved one set up their space once everything is in.
Arrange furniture however they like, hang up family photos, or display their favorite belongings. You can also help your loved one communicate their preferences when setting up their room.
Your presence alone can help your loved one feel reassured during their first day in assisted living.
Make Sure They Have Access to All Medical Needs
Make sure the facility is aware of your loved one’s medical needs. Some things may require the services of an outside medical professional. Find out how they will communicate with that professional and how services are rendered. Do they need someone to take them to appointments? Will the care provider come to the facility to administer services?
Also, verify that they have all their necessary medications. Find out how they will obtain refills when needed. Will someone have to go to a pharmacy for them? Does the facility offer medication management services?
Make arrangements as needed to ensure that your loved one will have access to the medical services and prescriptions that they need after they move into assisted living.
Look at the Events Calendar Together
Social events are a big benefit that comes with moving into assisted living. Loneliness and depression are serious concerns among elderly populations. These facilities help maintain emotional and mental health by encouraging a social lifestyle.
You can help by showing your loved one how to view the events calendar. Take a look at what’s coming up and see if there is anything that might be appealing. Most facilities offer a broad range of options, including holiday dinners, parties, fitness groups, workshops, classes, and more. These are opportunities for enrichment and help assisted living residents expand their social circles.
Talk About Fears, Concerns, and Worries
Be open to discussions about assisted living. Give your loved one a chance to sit down and discuss what’s on their mind. Find out if they have any fears, concerns, or worries related to the move. Knowing what is bothering them will give you a chance to find ways to address their concerns.
Talk about services and amenities that the facility has that address their concerns directly. In some cases, the concern may not be so easily overcome. For example, a loved one may worry about being forgotten after they move into assisted living. While you can’t immediately counter that concern, you can reassure them with promises to visit. You could even come up with a visitation schedule.
Plan to Visit Often and Remain in Contact
You may not be able to visit all the time, especially if you don’t live in the area. If that’s the case, you should also let your loved one know about other ways you can stay in touch.
The internet makes it possible to communicate from any distance away. Set up an email account for your loved one or show them how to use a chat program. After COVID-19, many facilities started using tablets with video call capability. Show your loved one that they can still reach you even if you aren’t physically present.
Find Ways to Keep Your Loved One Independent
Your loved one’s level of independence may vary from that of other people their age. Some seniors are very independent while others may need help with most tasks due to health conditions. Look for ways that you can help your loved one remain independent and feel in control of their life.
If they can no longer drive, find out what transportation services are provided by the facility or available in the area. If they enjoy cooking and can still do it, make sure there is a kitchen that they can use.
Safety should always come first, so consult your loved one’s doctor and assisted living staff if you have questions about what they can comfortably do on their own.
Encourage Your Loved One to Make Friends
Encourage your loved one to meet their neighbors and make new friends. Research has shown that people who maintain satisfying relationships with others tend to have fewer health problems and lived longer. They are also happier overall.
You can’t force your loved one to be friends with anyone, but you can create opportunities to build bonds with their peers. Plan a gathering in their room or a communal space and invite their neighbors. Ask ice breaker questions to help them find common interests and experiences.
Find Ways to Help Them Do What They Love
Hobbies make our lives more fun and interesting. Find out how you can help your loved one continue doing the things they enjoy. For example, if they love gardening, many facilities have raised garden beds for seniors to work in at their leisure. If none are available, you could also bring in a small planter that can sit on a windowsill in their room.
If your parent or grandparent loves art, find out what art classes and groups are on the event calendar. Provide them with art supplies like drawing paper, pencils, paints, or whatever they prefer.
Some hobbies may be harder to fit into an assisted living lifestyle than others. If your loved one used to go horseback riding, they may not be able to do it now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take them to look at horses. You can also find books on horseback riding with photos or watch documentaries on horses and related topics.
There are many things you can do to ease the stress of transitioning to assisted living. Learn more by visiting Vista Living Senior Care.