One of the most difficult situations in your life is the need to move your loved ones into senior living. Moving your parents, even if they’re willing, is an emotional and delicate process. Your parents may be saddened by the loss of their independence, youth, and the home they’ve built. They might be scared about living in a new place with strangers.
You’re probably thinking about all those things too and start doubting your decision. And then you’ll just feel guilty. But know that all these feelings are normal. With proper planning and the right strategies, moving your loved one to assisted senior living can be a smooth transition for everyone.
Below are some good tips to get you started:
1. Talk To Them
Some people make the mistake of not consulting with their senior loved ones or only talking to them once only when they have already found a senior living facility. When it becomes too sudden, the transition becomes even more difficult.
So, start the conversation early. This gives them more time to collect their thoughts and form their opinion. Also, always make them part of the conversation. You don’t want them to feel that they’re being left out of the conversations that concern their life.
You can research and learn more about the benefits of assisted senior living homes, and you can have an open discussion with your senior loved one. Just make sure to listen to them when they’re voicing out their anxieties and concerns. Doing these can help your loved ones decide where and when to look on their terms when they’re ready, ensuring a more positive transition.
2. Pick The Right Community
While your loved ones should have the final say on where they’ll be moving, you need to do your research and tour different senior living communities in your area. Make sure to understand each location’s social environment, amenities, services, dining, and overall feel.
You also need to observe the friendliness of staff, the level of cleanliness, and whether the residents are content in their environment. Then, share it with your loved ones, provide recommendations and let them decide.
Take note that it’s best to start looking early to reduce pressure and allow more time to decide.
3. Be Patient
Regardless of how much you prepared yourself or your loved one for a move to senior assisted living when moving day comes, and they’re already in their new home, negative emotions like fear and guilt will still occur.
After all, no one is completely ready for this type of move. Being emotional is completely normal. You should be patient and allow as much time as possible for the emotional transition. Also, note that everyone has a different timeline for this transition, which is okay.
During this period, it’s also best to take advantage of social circles for support–from friends to family and even spiritual or professional guides. Having someone to talk to through your fears is an effective method of overcoming them.
4. Create A Familiar Space
Leaving home, where you’ve spent most of your life, is difficult. Hence, it’s important to do everything possible to make your loved one’s new place feel like their old home.
You can similarly arrange decorations and furniture as with their previous home. You can also display sentimental items such as old family photographs. If there are windows, you can hang their favorite curtains.
Take the time to create a functional and familiar living space. Bringing some of the touches of their home to their new residence can go a long way in smoothing out the transition.
5. Limit New Things
Adding new or fancy items to your loved one’s new home is tempting to make it more functional and valuable. However, limiting these items, particularly technologically advanced ones, is best.
Moving into a senior assisted living home is already a major adjustment for your loved one. Everything–from the environment, people, routines, and food–is completely new. You might not want to overwhelm them with a fancy new coffee maker, a new phone, or a nice gadget they won’t need. Limit the things they need to learn, making their transition even more difficult.
Like any significant change in life, moving to assisted living is a difficult transition for everyone involved. While you can’t do anything to make your parent or a senior loved one who recently moved to assisted senior living instantly love their new home, following the above tips can make the transition a bit easier and help them settle better.
Take note that the first few months will be the hardest, and you should expect a lot of initial discomfort and unhappiness. But trust that there will come a day when your elderly loved one will accept assisted living as their new home sweet home.