Making the transition to assisted living isn’t easy. Many seniors are sad to leave their homes and belongings behind, even if a health crisis prompted their move.
While assisted living will never take the place of the family home, you can help your loved one make the most of their new space, routine, and community. How can you help with the transition to assisted living?
Try our tips to make assisted living seem more like home.
1. Call It Home
When your loved one moves out of their house, they aren’t just leaving a physical space. They are leaving behind a place full of memories, a place where they felt comfortable. Moving to assisted living is a mental transition as well as a physical one.
You can help your loved one view their move in a positive light. Instead of referring to their previous residence as home, start using the word “home” when referring to the assisted living community. Be patient and give your loved one time to adjust to their new space and routine. Calling the assisted living community home will help your loved one see it that way, too.
2. Make It Look Like Home
Moving to an assisted living apartment will likely require downsizing. Some of your loved one’s furniture and belongings will have to be put in storage or given away. Your loved one can’t take all of their belongings with them, but you can help decorate their assisted living apartment with a few of their most cherished items.
Smaller pieces of furniture like a favorite chair, lamp, or side table will transition perfectly to an assisted living apartment. Other decor like blankets or throw pillows can make the new space feel cozy. Your loved one may also wish to display art or family photos, as well as have any significant items like their well-used knitting basket or collection of beloved baseball cards.
You can also try to replicate your loved one’s previous residence and routine by putting furniture and other items in similar places. If your loved one had a nightstand on the left side of their bed, put a nightstand in the same place in their apartment. Trying to replicate aspects of their previous residence will help them feel comfortable in their new space.
3. Meet People & Make Connections
Dorothy is right when she says, “There’s no place like home,” in The Wizard of Oz. Yet, home is much more than a structure; it’s a feeling. Home is about community. In assisted living, your loved one will be surrounded by a supportive community of caregivers and residents.
Assisted living facilities focus on helping residents stay independent. Residents discover that they often have more free time due to the care they receive. Assisted living can help your loved one explore or reconnect with activities they enjoy.
Communities host daily events and activities, so your loved one will have many opportunities to connect with others and share experiences. Participating in life within the assisted living community can help your loved one find a sense of belonging and purpose.
4. Visit Beforehand
Before you move your loved one into assisted living, be sure to take them on a visit to the community. Your loved one will feel more comfortable when they move in if they have already seen the space and met a few caregivers or residents. With permission from the facility, you could take your loved one to a few events so they can have a better idea of what life is like within the community.
It may not be possible for your loved one to visit before they move in. In that case, try calling the facility to learn more about what their community life is all about. Let your loved one be a part of the conversation.
Are you looking into assisted living for your family member?