A study conducted by Genworth Financial found out that 7 out of 10 Americans over the age of 65 will require long-term care. Moving a senior loved one into assisted living is fraught with emotion. Your parents are likely to feel a loss of independence, crave for their younger years, or want to remain in a home they built. What’s more, they could be afraid of living in a new place, interacting with new friends, or being susceptible to diseases that come with aging.
As a son or daughter, you could be wondering if you acted too quickly or overreacted about the situation. However, these feelings are normal and should not last for long. Different scenarios require the need to move a parent to assisted living.
Here are six tips to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
1. Start Early
Have a conversation with your loved one early to know their likes and dislikes. Let the individual decide on what to be carried, what to be kept, and what to be given away. Have relatives visit to help out with the transition. Losing independence is part of the difficulty of moving to an assisted living community. Reassure your parent by including them in every decision that pertains to their ongoing care.
Find out credible facilities together and get feedback. Discuss their preferred location, visitation schedules, and activities. You can also come up with a floor plan and indicate what will be in the room using cut-outs. A minimum of six weeks before the move is recommended to ensure that everything is covered. The extra time can be used to manage the emotions that come with this decision.
2. Visit the Facility Before
Take your parent to visit regularly before the move after your family has settled into a particular senior living community. Attend events that allow your loved one to become familiar with the schedule, residents, and the community at large. Familiarize yourself with the staff to get an assurance that your loved one will receive the best care. This will make the change easy as the surroundings will seem less foreign.
3. Understand that it will take Time
Moving a loved one is not easy. At first, parents are apprehensive and sad about the move. You need to give them time to talk about the move and grieve the change. Experts say that it takes between three and six months for a senior to adjust to assisted living. Remember to stay focused on the reasons you made this decision. It could be to safeguard their health, safety, security, or sanity.
4. Make It Feel Like Home
One of the best ways to make the transition smooth is by making their new room feel like home. Bring items they were attached to before they moved. Photo albums, paintings, décor can remind your loved one feel more secure and comfortable; some facilities allow pets to come along with patients.
5. Have Them Participate in Activities
Some seniors are dismissive of assisted living activities and prefer staying in their rooms or watching TV. However, your loved one is likely to adjust if he or she participates in the various activities in the community. Moreover, getting involved with activities allows them to make new friends. Activities like reading, listening to music, or games can appeal to your loved one. This will also allow your parent time off you relax and not think about the transition.
6. Encourage Independence
It’s normal to be overprotective or feel like you need to check up on your parent every time. Nonetheless, this can be counterproductive and can make your parent long for the old days and prevent your loved one from adapting to his or her new home. It’s okay to visit during the first few days to ensure that your parent doesn’t feel abandoned, but be sure to give them time to adjust to their new setup.
Assisted living facilities ensure that your parent stays socially active and promote independence. Change is difficult and getting through the first months is not always easy. You can make this transition easy by keeping an open line of communication, bringing in items they cherish and encouraging your parents to participate in the different activities an assisted living facility provides.