Once the decision has been made that moving to assisted living is the best option to improve a senior’s overall quality of life, both the senior and his or her family members are faced with another challenging situation: the move itself and settling into a new living space. For many seniors, leaving a home they may have lived in for many years due to their declining health, mobility issues or safety concerns may have been a final option to ensure they will receive the level of care they need to thrive.
Settling in to an Assisted Living Community
Starting the conversation about moving to assisted living was the first step in this important process, with the next step being researching and visiting communities until the community that will best meet the senior’s needs has been identified. Then, it’s time to plan for the moving day and how to get adjusted to a new way of life, for both the new resident and their family members.
Tips for New Residents
Seniors may feel a certain level of intimidation when they first move to assisted living. After all, they may feel like they’re being forced to learn a new routine or feel their independence will now be compromised. The first few weeks in their new home represent a crucial time to ensure they’re getting adjusted successfully. Here are few things seniors can do to settle in more quickly:
Ask questions. The staff at the assisted living community is there to help new residents feel as comfortable and as welcome as possible. If they feel unsure about anything, they should seek out a staff member and ask questions. In fact, many communities will designate a particular team member or long-time resident to help the newbies learn the ropes.
Get to know the neighbors. Assisted living communities recognize the importance of social activities for seniors, and new residents should be able to easily find ways to make friends and build new relationships. Staying socially active can really help their new living space feel like home.
Stay positive. Although moving to assisted living may seem like a major life change, new residents should keep an open mind and embrace their new lifestyle.
Tips for Family Members
The move to assisted living is a transitional period for the family members, too, who want to make sure their aging loved one is as happy and as healthy as possible. A few ways family members can help their loved ones settle in include:
Help create a familiar space. To recreate the feel of an aging loved one’s previous living room or bedroom by bringing personal items like photos and knick-knacks. At the same time, recognize they will most likely be downsizing and making decisions about what belongings will make the move with them, so family members can help in that decision-making process.
Stay in touch. Family members play a vital role in this life-changing event for their aging loved ones. Visiting often, talking on the phone, and connecting with staff members provides peace of mind for both the family member and the new resident that that transition is going as smoothly as possible.
Allow seniors their independence. Family members should let go of some of the guilt they may be feeling in regards to the move to assisted living. Recognize that the move was for the best interests of everyone involved, and try not to become overprotective, as this can easily keep loved ones from successfully adapting to life in the assisted living community.