Moving is one of life’s biggest challenges, whether you’re picking your first apartment or downsizing post-retirement. For seniors, a move from a life-long home to an assisted living community often comes with its own relocation stress.
Your parent may have a hard time going through their belongings, saying goodbye to familiar surroundings, and adjusting to the lifestyle change that comes with receiving assistance with daily care.
But with some help, your loved one will adjust.
Here are five tips to help smooth the transition to assisted living.
Think about how your parent may react to the thought of moving to assisted living. If you think they would do better with being involved, consider including them in the search for a community. On the other hand, some families may want to present their aging loved one with community options first.
If beginning the search for senior living seems overwhelming, reach out to one of the following experts for help:
Feel supported and knowledgeable discussing senior living with our comprehensive guide.
Our step-by-step advice can help you start a productive dialogue, set expectations with your family, and consider next steps.
Your parent will likely have less space in their new home, and choosing items to part with can bring up a wide range of emotions and memories.
Downsizing should be handled gently and respectfully.
While your parent has a lot to process emotionally, you can help with other items on the to-do list.
Even if your parent insists they will be fine, you may want to plan to spend time with your loved one in their community during their first few days. If your parent wants your support, you might take this time to enjoy a meal with them in the dining room, participate in a game night, or just spend time outside exploring the grounds together.
If your parent wants to acclimate on their own, you can use this time to get to know the caregivers and community staff. Building a rapport with these new members of your parent’s care team can help all of you work together smoothly to support your parent.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Hopefully your parent or loved one will have plenty of activities and social events to look forward to, but family relationships will still make up a large part of their identity.
Losing family relationships is a common concern of seniors in assisted living facilities, according to a study in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.
Make sure you plan regular visits, and enlist other family members to visit your parent as well.
With your assistance and support, your loved one can look forward to a fulfilling life in their new senior living community. Although this is an emotional time for your parent, remember to take care of yourself emotionally as well. It’s a big adjustment for many to see their loved one move to an assisted living facility, but many seniors actually find that they prefer it once they’ve settled in. With your encouragement, your loved one may feel at home before you know it.
Bekhet, A. K., Zauszniewski, J. A., & Nakhla, W. E. (2009, February 25). Reasons for relocation to retirement communities: A qualitative study. Western Journal of Nursing Research.
Ekerdt, D., Luborsky, M., & Lysack, C. (2011, July 22). Safe passage of goods and self during residential relocation in later life. Ageing & Society.
Smith, G., & Ekerdt, D. (2011, August 1). Confronting the material convoy in later life. Sociological Inquiry.
Tompkins, C. J., Ihara, E. S., Cusick, A., & Park, N. S. (2012, April). Maintaining connections but wanting more: The continuity of familial relationships among assisted-living residents. Journal of Gerontological Social Work.