If your senior loved one recently made a move to a senior living community, they may be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. Moving is tough at any age. It can be physically exhausting for everyone. But for older adults, a major move can also be emotionally difficult. The senior may have left a home they lived in for decades and memories of the place where they raised a family.
Finding ways to help a senior loved one through the first few months of this transition is an important factor in determining how well they settle in.
Assisted Living Tips: How to Make a Smooth Transition
Here are a few suggestions to help you support your loved one’s transition to assisted living:
Encourage patience: It takes time to adjust to a new environment and to all new neighbors. You should expect it to take at least a few months before the new place truly feels like “home.” If it takes a little longer, encourage your older family member to be patient. As with any major life change, there will be good days and not so good days.
Getting Involved: One of the best parts of moving to an assisted living community is the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of wellness programs and life enrichment activities. Take time to investigate the community’s activities and events schedule. Identify the ones that sound appealing to your loved one. If they are reluctant to go alone the first few times, try to attend with them or find a family member who can. Or you can speak with the community’s Life Enrichment Director. He or she will likely be able to introduce your loved one to other residents who usually attend.
Just “hang out:” New friendships bloom every day in senior living communities. Many of them begin over a cup of coffee and a friendly conversation in one of the community’s common areas. These are often popular gathering spots for residents. Encourage your loved one to head down to one of these areas for a few minutes every day. It will give them an opportunity to introduce themselves and get to know a few new people each day.
Meet the staff: Building strong relationships with caregivers and other team members is important for the new resident and their family members. Take time to introduce yourselves to each staff member. Make a point of remembering their names and what role they play at the community. If it feels comfortable to you, ask about their families and share some of your family’s history. These are the people who will play key roles in your loved one’s life now.
Stay Connected: Keep your senior loved one from feeling abandoned by helping them stay connected to old friends. If your family member has a friend who no longer drives, pick them up and bring them to visit your loved one. Or talk with the staff to arrange transportation for your senior family member to visit their old friend.
Throw a Party: Once your loved one is unpacked, celebrate this new chapter in life by throwing a party at their new apartment! Invite loved ones, old friends and neighbors, as well as new ones. Talk to the dietary staff to see if they can provide a few refreshments for the party.
Our final tip is to remember that helping the elderly transition to assisted living can be emotional. But once the senior adjusts, they will be able to enjoy all of the benefits community life has to offer!
Read More Information About Assisted Living