If you’re helping an older loved one prepare for a move to an assisted living community, then you understand that this time is full of complex emotions as your loved one faces a major lifestyle change. Sometimes, this situation is especially difficult if your loved one isn’t in favor of the move. But even when they know that assisted living is in their best interests, leaving behind a familiar home and routine can take its toll.
“Even in the best situations, where a loved one is happy and excited to start a new chapter at an assisted living community, the transition can be hard,” says Lifestyle Specialist Diane Reier from Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL. “Your loved one could be feeling any range of emotions, from anxiety about living somewhere new to stress from packing, sadness about leaving their beloved home or vulnerability from needing professional support. As their family caregiver, understanding their point of view and state of mind will go a long way in helping them transition to their new lifestyle.”
What You Can Do to Ensure a Smooth Transition to Assisted Living
It’s one thing to understand another’s emotions, but it’s another entirely to act upon your understanding to show that you care. According to Marguerite Manteau-Rao, CEO of Presence Care Project and author of the article “8 Ways to Help Mom Transition to Assisted Living,” the simplest actions can make the most impact.
When it comes to easing your loved one’s transition to an assisted living community, there are several, simple ways to help your loved one feel comfortable and confident in their new lifestyle. Consider the following to make their transition a smooth one:
1. Make it Feel like Home – Try to make your loved one’s new assisted living apartment as comfortable and homelike as possible before they move in. Many communities encourage new residents to bring their own favorite furniture and décor. Decorate their room with familiar objects, such as their favorite paintings, curtains, comforter and photos.
Keep their room well stocked with your loved one’s favorite books, music, movies and snacks. If your loved one enjoys a particular magazine or newspaper, change their subscription address to their community. Making it possible for them to continue enjoying their habits and routines helps the transition to assisted living go much smoother.
2. Don’t Make Them Move Alone – Be there for your loved one at each step of the moving process. Offer to help them downsize and pack belongings to take with them, as well as discard unwanted items at donation centers. Be present the day of the move to help them get situated in their new environment and address any questions or concerns they may have about their apartment.
Stay with your loved one throughout the day. Help them unpack, learn the locations of various rooms in the community and share a meal with them. This way, they can transition into their new home in the company of those they know and love.
3. Make Friends with the Staff – Let the staff and caregivers that will be working with your loved one know about their likes, dislikes, routines, interests, etc., especially if your loved one is less likely to share this kind of information. Your effort could help them make a personal connection sooner. We all have a desire to be known and appreciated, and your loved one is likely to feel more at ease when those caring for them know who they are at a personal level. These first connections and the ones that stem from there can help your loved one feel as though they belong in their community.
4. Encourage Them to Get Involved – Talk to the community’s lifestyle specialist to learn what kinds of activities and programs are available for residents. If your loved one enjoyed planting flowers, encourage them to get involved in the community garden. If they are an avid reader, purchase the next few books to be discussed in the community’s book club. Offer to attend some activities with them if they prefer.
Be careful not to pressure your loved one into doing things they don’t want to. Gently encouraging your loved one to get involved in their new community can help them transition to assisted living by socializing with neighbors and making new friends.
5. Stay Connected – While you should give your loved one the independence to adjust to their community on their own, it’s also important to stay connected to show you haven’t abandoned them. Visit often, call to check in and send little gifts to let them know you’re thinking about them.
When you can’t be around, stay connected with the staff as well to keep up-to-date on your loved one’s health and to ensure they are transitioning well to their new home.
Making the Transition Easier for Everyone
“At Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, we help our new residents adjust to our community through our attitude about senior living,” shares Reier. “We’re changing the perspective on aging, changing it into a season of life that’s just a full – if not fuller – than the last. The residents and associates at Aspired Living® believe in creating a lifestyle where seniors live well, age well and be well.
“We offer award-winning VIVA!℠ programming, which fosters purpose and provides a whole new way of aging healthily and happily. It’s easy to get involved here! Plus, everyone in our community encourages each other to experience engagement and fulfillment every day.”
If you would like more guidance on helping your loved one transition to assisted living, or would like to learn more about assisted living at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, contact us today.
We Would Love to Hear from You!
If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also welcome you to share any caregiving insights or experiences in our comments section.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.
Managed by Pathway to Living®, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living® offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.