Making the decision to move to an assisted living community can feel overwhelming for your parent or loved one. Like any big change in life, moving into a new home, apartment or in this case assisted living is a big adjustment. It isn’t uncommon for the children to feel overwhelmed as well with tasks of unpacking, selling, and organization with a smaller space.
If your parent or loved one has recently decided to move to or is planning on moving to a senior living community here a few tips to help make the transition a bit easier and make the new space feel like home.
Here are 5 top tips for adjusting to life in a new assisted living community:
Introduce Yourself or Get Involved Before the Big Move – As we mentioned before, big changes can be a struggle for many people. For seniors who have possibly lived in their home for many decades, a big move can be emotionally challenging. Giving up a long-time home where children were raised and proximity to friends/places where memories were made can be difficult. You may feel yourself or your parent second guessing the decision.
A tactic that can help ease the transition can be to get involved in the community before the big move. A life enrichment team can help you in this area. In most cases, they will be extremely happy to have the help and will certainly understand your intentions. With the world still experiencing the difficulties faced by the COVID pandemic, assisted living team members have become extremely creative in their approaches to activities, safety, events, or assisting residents. There may be some opportunities for you to connect with residents through video chats, volunteering opportunities, or grounds tours.
Take Your Time – Unless the move to an assisted living community must be quick due to significant health reasons or the swift selling of a previous home; try to establish a realistic timeline for you and your loved one. There are so many tasks involved in downsizing a parent’s home and the act of actually moving, the list can make your head spin with details and checklists. Keep an eye out for estate sales or charities that items can be donated towards if they are still of value to someone else.
In our experience, we have noted that some children or families wait to list or sell a patents home until after the move to the assisted living community. This is actually a good idea. This process can often provide a more reasonable timeline. Additionally, you know that in the meantime your parents in safe a secure in their new dwellings with the items of most importance.
Make the New Place Resemble Their Previous Home – A brand new environment with unfamiliar faces can be intimidating for both the parent and children. This is especially true for seniors that are more reserved or introverted. One great step to settle in faster is to make your new assisted living apartment or townhouse look and feel familiar.
As you plan which items are going with your parent or loved one, make notes on how you plan to decorate the new space to make it resemble home. It is important to ensure that your loved one has the essentials, but that is not the only thing that matters. Try to have a comforting perspective. As mentioned before, while you might have to sell, donate, or throw out some of the furniture, décor, or household items, hold onto the most treasured items. Incorporating a favorite comfy chair, framed family photos, and other family items can really help make the new residence their new home.
~Making the new residence feel like home ensures a successful transition more often than not~
Cut Yourself Some Slack When Setting In.
It’s important to remind yourself that there will be good and bad days during this time. Most residents find as the weeks go by, the good days start to outnumber the bad days. Be patient and kind to yourself while you and your loved one are adjusting to this change. Some older adults and their families find it helpful to create a plan for handling bad days. It might be an agreement to call one another or watch favorite movie. The little things really matter during this time, so try to give yourself some credit.
At Arbor View Assisted Living we know that change can be difficult. Our experienced team can help put both of your minds at ease and see the positives in the situation. For more information about our services please do not hesitate to contact us directly at (262) 691-7400.