When a parent or other senior loved one is preparing to move to an assisted living community, they will likely feel a little anxious and uncertain. Giving up their home and moving to a new one later in life isn’t easy. As an adult child, there are a few things you can do to help make this transition a smooth one.
7 Tips for Moving to Assisted Living
- Help them get involved with activities before the move. Beginning to build new friendships and to learn their way around the community before the actual move can help ease your senior loved one’s anxiety. If the environment is familiar and they recognize a few friendly faces in a crowded room of strangers at meal time, it will help them feel more comfortable.
- Take time to plan this move. If you and your senior loved one can work together to develop a realistic plan for this transition, it can help you avoid the frazzled nerves and conflicts that often come with moving. It is already a stressful enough time without discovering you have forgotten things or the sofa won’t fit where you thought it would.
- Plan a party to celebrate the new chapter in their life. This is a great way to break the ice and get family members in for a visit. You can also invite their fellow residents to the celebration.
- Schedule family visitors in the early weeks of the move. It helps to have a family member or friend to lean on during times of transition. Ask friends and loved ones to spread their visits out so your parent has a visitor each day instead of three or four one day and none other days.
- Review the calendar of life enrichment activities frequently. Help your senior loved one take full advantage of all of the activities there are by reviewing the calendar with them. Make note of the time and place of those that sound intriguing to them. You might also want to talk with the Life Enrichment Director to ask them to invite and encourage your loved one to attend.
- Make their apartment look and feel like home. Some families try to make the move easier by getting rid of old furniture and buying all new. Unless that is really necessary, try to hang on to some of their favorite things and move them to their new home. Having familiar things around them is one way of helping your senior loved one feel at home more quickly.
- Be attentive, but give them space. You may feel guilty that your aging parent had to make this move. It could lead you to visit more than they need you to in an effort to compensate. Our best advice is to be attentive while still giving them space to make new friends and become involved in all of the friendships and activities that develop in senior living communities.