Moving into assisted living can be difficult for a senior citizen. They may be in denial about moving into a facility, scared, or just unsure of new settings and new people involved. Socialization however is important to their adjustment and future health outcomes. Socialization has been shown to increase happiness and ward off depressive episodes.
You may want to try one of these suggestions, if your loved one is having a difficult time stepping out.
• Time: wait a short period of time for your senior to adjust to the facility. This may be days or two-three weeks. Giving them time to adjust physically first may open the possibilities of future social activities when they feel less overwhelmed. Don’t go longer than 3 weeks though, since it is important to establish new habits.
• Togetherness: work together to identify group activities of interest to your senior. Go together for the first few times, encouraging conversations and interactions with other residents at the activity as much as possible. Talk about it together during other visits, reinforcing the friendships started and the fun experienced.
• Talents: encourage your senior to share their talents, or gifts with others. This may be a small group activity knitting or making child toys for a local hospital. Playing an instrument, singing, or dancing, whether alone in the foyer or with a small group are also helpful activities, possibly leading to other activities or invitations.
• Trends: identify activities that your senior might enjoy even if the facility doesn’t currently offer it. Talk to the activities director about possibly starting a new activity or outing. There are probably more people in the facility who would enjoy doing something different from bingo, and would be excited to join a new group. Be the facilitator!
Call ACM Care at 314-293-0697 with any additional thoughts or comments. Thanks for reading!