Maintaining a Sense of Self in Your Assisted Living Facility

assisted living facilityMany people would prefer to age in place within their home, but when living independently becomes too difficult or even dangerous, making the move to an assisted living facility is vital.

Transitioning from your home to an assisted living community doesn’t mean that you will have to sacrifice your independence and autonomy. These days, assisted living communities work hard to take their residents’ needs and comfort into consideration, while allowing them the help they may need with activities of daily living and keeping them safe.

If you’re worried about maintaining your independence and sense of self as you move into an assisted living facility, there are plenty of ways for you to remain feeling in control in your new living arrangement.

  • Bring personal items with you. Many assisted living communities will allow you to bring items from your home, like photos, pillows, knickknacks, and even some furniture. Having these personal things surround you in your new home will help ease the transition into your new living space. It’s said that having an environment consistent with your personal history is key to the ability to adapt to life in an assisted living facility.
  • Get involved in activities. Activities will help you adjust to your new living situation by offering a chance for social interaction and the opportunity to fulfill your current hobbies or interests, as well as the ability to learn something new. Perhaps you like to knit or garden; many communities will offer these types of activities to their residents.  Plus, learning something new will promote mental growth and stimulation. Spending time with other residents will give you a chance to connect with others and grow new relationships, helping take away that feeling of isolation you may have previously experienced when living independently in your home.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends. Assisted living facilities encourage residents to stay connected to relatives and friends. Create a calendar and write down the dates and times people will be visiting or calling to give yourself something to look forward to each week. It’s important for family members to recognize the importance of establishing a communication routine with loved ones in assisted living, too.
  • Get to know the staff. Upon your arrival to the assisted living community, you and your care giving loved ones should arrange to speak to the staff.  The more information you can give the staff about yourself, the better they will work to meet your needs. Let them know your daily routines, your favorite foods and snacks.  The staff will work diligently to ensure that they are providing the best care possible while allowing you to maintain as much independence as possible in a homelike, secure environment.

Many assisted living facilities also still allow access to your community, depending on your current physical abilities. You may participate in group outings to senior centers, shopping or church, allowing you to stay connected outside of the assisted living facility as you have in the past.

Moving into an assisted living facility might take a little adjusting, but there is no reason why you cannot maintain a level of independence once you are there.

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