Transitioning your elderly parents or loved one into an assisted living facility is never easy. At Sunnymere, we do everything we can to help our residents feel welcome and at home right from the start. However, between the stresses of packing and preparation and the anxiety of moving into a new environment, it still takes some time to get used to. Fortunately, there are many ways that to help make the transition as seamless as possible, helping to make for an assisted living experience that is not only therapeutic, but also enjoyable. Utilize are some of our tips for helping your elderly parents adjust to assisted living.
Ways to Make Senior Living More Comfortable
- Share a Positive Attitude– Your attitude towards the move can greatly influence your loved one to look forward to the good things their new home will offer. Find the balance between support for their anxieties and encouraging excitement. Once they’ve moved in, start referring to their assisted living community as “home.” This action is subtle, but it can make a big difference on how you both perceive their new residence.
- Empathize and “Walk in Their Shoes”– While you might be happy and relieved that mom is moving to assisted living where she’ll receive the support and social involvement she need to thrive, she is leaving behind a huge part of their past. Try to imagine this move from her point of view, along with all the difficult emotions it entails.
- Make It Look and Feel Like Their Home– Your dad’s assisted living suite can feel more like home if you decorate the space to match their tastes and style. Display familiar objects from his previous home, such as favorite painting, books and keepsakes, pillows or blankets.
- Be Present Throughout the Move– Show your family member that you are there for them throughout the transition to assisted living. If they ask for help, assist them in packing or changing their address, and be there for the big move itself. Try not to take control of the situation (allow them the freedom to arrange their room the way they want), but be available to help at any time. To help them adjust, stay for dinner on move-in day, and visit regularly in the weeks afterward.
- Encourage Socializing– Stay up-to-date with mom’s assisted living community and encourage them to get involved in special interest groups or and daily activities they might enjoy. Offer to go with her to a social gathering if she doesn’t want to go alone. Don’t be too pushy or criticize their decisions about social engagement, but show your support for helping her find their place in the community.
- Show Patience– The most important thing is to be patient as dad adjusts to his new home. Feeling reclusive or disheartened right after a big move is normal, and these feelings usually go away with a bit of time. The best thing you can do is show constant support as he gets used to their new home.
- Offer Some Storage Space– Your loved one most likely has to downsize to move into an assisted living suite. This process is often emotionally – and physically – strenuous. If your loved one had trouble discarding things they couldn’t bring with them to their new home, help ease their burden by offering to store some things in your house, if you can. This way, your loved one can switch out seasonal items, redecorate later on and avoid the heartache of leaving cherished items behind.
- Plan Frequent Visits– The first few weeks in a new environment can be difficult, no matter the circumstance. Frequent visits—especially during this time—can help alleviate any anxiety or loneliness and help your parents feel as though they are leading their normal lives. Dine with them and attend activities so that every assisted living experience is a positive one.
- Help them Maintain Outside Interests & Outings– Many seniors feel that because they are living in an assisted living facility, they can no longer enjoy the activities or places they once loved. On the contrary, encourage your loved ones to maintain their favorite hobbies and maintain their weekly outings with friends and family. These activities will help them to maintain a connection to the life they’ve always loved.