June 17, 2019
Taking time to prepare for a transition to an assisted living community is vital. These 4 tips will help.
When an older adult is contemplating a move to an assisted living community, they often feel overwhelmed. As do their family members. With so many choices to explore and decisions to make, it’s easy to understand why seniors and their families feel so stressed.
One source of stress often comes from figuring out how to make the process of moving go well. While relocating is tough at any age, for an adult who is giving up their family home, the transition can be emotionally charged.
Here are a few suggestions to make the transition to an assisted living community go a little easier.
4 Tips for Making a Smooth Transition to Assisted Living
Tip #1: Get involved prior to moving.
One step you can take to ensure a smoother transition is to encourage your senior loved one to get involved with the community’s social life before moving day. It’s a great way to meet new neighbors and connect with people who share similar interests.
Another way to get comfortable before moving day is to stop by for a meal or two. Most assisted living communities are happy to have potential residents and their family members enjoy lunch or dinner in the dining room prior to the big day.
Tip #2: Set realistic timelines for moving.
Families often underestimate how much time it takes to downsize and sell a home, even one that isn’t very large. If the senior has lived there for a long time, as many do, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting to clean out their home. Unless this move is the result of an emergency, give yourself time to plan and pack.
Remember, in addition to packing the items that will be going to the assisted living community, you’ll probably need to host an estate sale or garage sale, and arrange to donate unneeded items to charity.
Tip #3: Make the new apartment look familiar.
While it can be tempting to sell or donate the senior’s current belongings and purchase new, it isn’t usually the best way to handle this move. Remember, the senior is relocating to a new environment where they will be surrounded by unfamiliar faces. That can be overwhelming.
Instead, create an environment in their new apartment that looks and feels like “home.” It will likely help your older loved one feel more comfortable and settle in faster.
As you develop a plan for decorating their assisted living apartment, try to include at least a few pieces of their favorite furniture and household belongings. The recliner or love seat they sit on to watch television, bedding from their bedroom, family photos, and familiar wall décor can help the senior feel more at home from the first day they move in.
Tip #4: Understand there will be ups and downs.
As with any major life change, there will be highs and lows during the days leading up to the move and shortly after. This is true not only for the senior, but for family members as well. Your role will likely revert back from hands-on caregiver to spouse or adult child.
For many people, that change can be an adjustment. Give yourself permission to feel down while also making a commitment to accept and embrace the new opportunities this move presents.
If you have questions about assisted living or need more advice for making a smooth transition, we’ll be happy to help. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you for advice!