With age comes wisdom, a well of experiences, and knowledge to be shared. However, it also comes with its own unique hurdles. You may find yourself taking longer to do the things you love as well as the daily tasks of living. When this happens, you’re faced with the daunting question of “What to do next?” Making the decision to seek help can be a tremendous step, then comes the choice of where to seek help from. Assisted living might not be for everyone, but for those who choose this option for themselves, transitioning can seem like an overwhelming obstacle. When you or your loved one has lived in their own home for years, transitioning to an assisted living community can be intimidating. Making the move from the comfort of home into an unfamiliar environment is challenging for anyone. Often, it’s one of the greatest adjustments a senior will make in their older years. There’s no way to completely remove the worries and anxieties that come with this move. However, we here at Providence House have gatherers some guiding steps you can take to help ease the transition for both you and your loved one.
The first step in transitioning to assisted living is making the choice to move. It can be difficult for some seniors to come to terms with the idea of needing help with their daily routines. It can be a sensitive subject, and if you find your loved ones struggling with this, we believe the best solution is clear and open communication.
Keep them included in the conversations.
Put yourself in their shoes, try to understand how they are feeling with the situation at hand. The last thing anyone wants is to feel misunderstood or that their option of choice is being taken away from them. No matter how advanced their age, include your loved one in the conversation about assisted living. Share your concerns and listen to their responses. Listen with the intent to understand how they’re feeling and don’t just wait for your turn to reply. This can help ease the tension of the subject and make your loved one feel their wants and concerns are being heard.
Do the research and be fully informed.
It’s one thing to bring up the subject of assisted living as a general idea. However, it’s entirely different if you have researched the facilities in your area and the potential options that are available to you or your loved one. It’s important to ask yourself some key questions while researching assisted living facilities: Are the other residents encouraged to live independent lives? Do they include activities you know your loved one would enjoy? What are the visiting hours? How often can you go see them? What is the cost, and does it work with your budget? We encourage potential residents to take the time to research and tour multiple assisted living communities in their area. This will help you get a sense of the social environment, dining, amenities, and overall feel of each location. It’s best to start researching early on before you have an immediate need to move which will give you the ability to take your time with the decision. But we know this can’t always be the case.
Once you and your loved one have found a facility that meets all their needs, the next step is the actual move itself.
Packing and setting up a new living space.
Moving is a major process and it’s important to put together a plan. One of the first things we recommend is to check within the community of Brighton to see available packing services. Getting help with this process will go a long way in smoothing the transition to assisted living. If you have ever moved yourself or your family, you know that it can be a very chaotic day. If you don’t plan to make sure everything is properly coordinated, it can make the day more stressful than it needs to be. Once moved into the new space, the next step is to make it feel like home. One of the best ways to make your loved one feel at home is to make their new living space feel familiar. Moving to assisted living can often mean needing to downsize. A large dining room table or kitchen hutch may not fit in the new apartment, but photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a familiar piece of artwork certainly will. Surrounding your loved ones with the familiarities of home will help ease the transition and make them feel more secure in their unique environment.
Next comes what can be the most difficult part of transitioning into an assisted living facility, getting acclimated to a new community.
Get familiar with the community.
Take the time with your loved ones to explore the amenities of their new community and encourage them to be social at their own pace. Your loved one will be living in an apartment setting with several neighbors. Each person they meet has the potential to become a new friend. During the first few weeks, your loved one will get acquainted with several staff members within the community. This includes meetings with caregivers to assess their needs and create a care plan, as well as meeting nurses, dining staff, social directors, fitness staff, and others within the community. The goal of the facility staff is to make your loved one feel comfortable and welcoming, so do not hesitate to bring up questions you have for them at any time.
Lastly, allow time during the transition to an assisted living facility for setbacks and obstacles.
Allow time to Process.
No matter how prepared you or your loved one is for a move to assisted living, there still may be fears and apprehensions. No one is completely ready for this type of move, so feelings like these are completely normal. Just when you think you are over the difficulties and your loved one is settling in, things may change. They may tell you they are lonely, or that they don’t like their new dining hall friends. They may ask to go home, and moments like this can be heartbreaking but know that they are normal and that they will pass. Give yourself and your loved ones the grace to grieve their home, the ability to be frustrated with the move, to take time to break away from the stress, and take a deep breath. Transitioning can be overwhelming; we encourage you and your loved ones to acknowledge these emotions so you can resolve them together and come through in a brighter light, and if needed seek assistance.
Making the choice and following through with transitioning to an assisted living facility can seem an insurmountable task. We at Providence House want to help ease this stress for both you and your loved ones. We hope these steps can give you guidance through a tricky situation, and we welcome any new or potential residents to our community.