Change is seldom easy. But when so much changes at once, the effects can be unsettling. For your older loved one anticipating a move to an Assisted Living community, their entire established way of life is about to be upended. They’ll need to start over in making their new residence into a place they are happy to call home.
According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a Senior Living community in Prospect Heights, IL, extreme change at so late in life can leave seniors grappling with anxiety and a deep sense of loss. “Transitioning to an Assisted Living community requires a period of adjustment for everyone,” Diane says. “The move can be harder for some than it is for others, depending on the circumstances that influenced the move. To make the transition smoother and ease the pain of leaving behind a familiar house and lifestyle, family members can do a lot to encourage their loved one during this time and help them to quickly feel at home in their new community.”
Support the Move to Assisted Living
According to experts in the Senior Living field, families can be most helpful to their loved one’s adjustment to Assisted Living before, during and right after the move. The National Center for Assisted Living and Eldercare consultant Carol Bradley Bursack, author of “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home,” suggest several things you can do during the moving process to ease the transition and help your loved one feel comfortable.
Here are steps you can take to help your loved one feel at home in their new community. In essence, these ideas help to support and encourage your loved one and ease their anxieties about moving.
- Consider Their Point of View – Although you may be relieved that your loved one is moving to a community where their physical and social support needs can be met, your loved one might not see it that way. Try to imagine this move from your loved one’s point of view, along with all the difficult emotions it entails.
- Promote Positivity – Your attitude towards the move can greatly influence your loved one to look forward to the good things their new home will offer. Find the balance between support for their anxieties and encouraging excitement. Once they’ve moved in, start referring to their community as “home.” This action is subtle, but it can make a big difference on how you both perceive their new residence.
- Make It Cozy – Your loved one’s Assisted Living apartment can feel more like home if you decorate the space to match their tastes and style. Display familiar objects from their previous home, such as favorite painting, books and keepsakes, pillows or blankets. Many communities allow residents to bring their own furniture as well. Perhaps your loved one has a favorite chair. Moving it into their new apartment could provide extra comfort.
- Offer Storage Space – Your loved one will probably need to downsize to move into an Assisted Living apartment. This process is often emotionally – and physically – strenuous. If your loved one has trouble discarding things they can’t bring with them to their new home, help ease their burden by offering to store some things in your house, if possible. This way, your loved one can switch out seasonal items, redecorate later on and avoid the heartache of leaving cherished items behind.
- Be Around Throughout the Move – Show your loved one that you are there for them throughout this transition. If they ask for help, assist them in packing or changing their address, and be there for the big move itself. Try not to take control of the situation (allow your loved one the freedom to arrange their room the way they want), but be available to help in any way. To help them adjust, stay for dinner on move-in day, and visit them regularly after they’re settled.
- Encourage Participation – Stay up-to-date with your loved one’s community and encourage them to get involved in special interest groups or attend events they might enjoy. Offer to go with them to a social gathering if they don’t want to go alone. Don’t be too pushy or criticize their decisions about social engagement, but show your support for helping them find their place in the community.
- Be Patient – The most important thing is to be patient as your loved one adjusts to their new home. Feeling reclusive or disheartened right after a big move is normal, and these feelings usually go away with a bit of time. The best thing you can do is show constant support as your loved one gets used to their new home.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s adjustment, ask the staff or director at their Assisted Living community for advice. Aside from being experts on Senior Living, they know details about their community and programming that could spark interest with your loved one.
Make the Move to Engaged Living
“At Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, it doesn’t take long for new residents to feel right at home,” shares Diane. “Our award-winning VIVA!℠ programming gives seniors a full range of opportunities to meet new neighbors and find meaningful ways to fit in to the community. We’ve redefined Assisted Living to empower our residents to view each day as a new chance at joyful living, complete with the freedom they desire and the support they need to reach their personal goals.
“If you could use more ideas on how to help your loved one feel at home in their new assisted living community, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts is readily available to help seniors and their families make the most out of senior living.”
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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.