Helping a Parent Make the Transition into Assisted Living
Moving to a new home is one of life’s most stressful events. Helping a parent transition from living in their own home to an assisted living community, even if they are ready and willing to move, can be challenging for the entire family. Employing a few strategies before, during, and after the move can help ease the process and prepare your parent for this new phase of life.
Preparing Emotionally to Move
Many older adults prefer to stay in their home as long as possible, however, home is not always the safest place for your aging parents. If your parents are reluctant to make the transition to assisted living, it is best to look for natural opportunities to bring up the advantages of living in a senior living community. For example, if your parent is telling you how difficult it is to keep up with laundry or they are saying they are lonely, use that opportunity to broach the subject. It is better to have several conversations over a period of time than to wait until a health emergency occurs and a move becomes imperative. Read more about having the conversation about assisted living.
It’s important to listen to your parent’s concerns and be patient as they process. It’s possible they will express excitement about the idea of moving one day and the next day decide it is out of the question. Encourage and respect your parent’s independence while also being open and honest about the realities of their situation.
Before moving, help your parent get a feel for what daily life will be like in the community. Take a look at the community’s social media pages, like Facebook, to see what sort of life-enrichment activities are happening. Investigate the services and amenities offered, download a dining menu, and contact the community to see if your parents could participate in any upcoming events they have planned.
The more of a connection you can build with the community before the move, the easier the transition will be for both you and your parent.
Downsizing and Moving
Once the move has been scheduled, your parents may worry about what furniture or memorabilia they can take with them. Find out what is important to them. Are there items they would like to give to a family member? Are there specific items they feel they cannot part with? Measure the furniture they would like to bring and review the floor plan and square footage to create a layout of their new space.
The Retreat at Sunny Vista recently held a virtual event to help seniors and their families think about rightsizing to a senior living community with helpful tips on how to navigate some of the common challenges. You can watch a recording of the event here.
Tips for a caring transition
As moving day approaches it’s normal for your parent to feel apprehensive. You may feel guilty and second guess your decision. It will take time for everyone to adjust to this new phase of life. Here are a few tips to ease the transition process:
- Acknowledge the difficulty and remember the advantages of living in a community. Your parent will receive the support they need while living as independently as possible.
- Encourage your parent to get involved and socialize right away. They should eat in the dining room, consider joining a group or a fitness class. A new friend in a new place will make a huge difference.
- Make sure your parent feels empowered to ask questions of team members in the community.
- Ask your parent how often they would like you to visit or call. You want to give them space to adjust to their new environment, but they should also know they can call you when they need to.
- Make the new residence feel like home by bringing photos and personal items that have meaning and bring comfort to them.
- Help your parent stay involved in activities outside the community that are familiar to them like church or a hobby group. Transportation is one of the services The Retreat at Sunny Vista offers to support residents in living life on their own.
- Consider rallying friends, family members, and former neighbors to send housewarming cards during the first few weeks.
What to Expect at The Retreat at Sunny Vista
At The Retreat at Sunny Vista, we focus our efforts on nurturing the whole person, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Residents are welcome and encouraged to participate in events and programming as much or as little as they like.
Community engagement can be a wonderful addition to the lives of our residents, as can quiet time alone to reflect and rest in their private space. Whether joining in a song or working together to prepare a meal, the spirit of wellness and family is present in everything we do. Learn about life at The Retreat at Sunny Vista from Janice, a resident who was not excited about moving to assisted living but found a place to live life on her own terms.
Choosing an assisted living community for your parent an important decision. Our care philosophy is based on the six dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and social. Residents can enjoy easy access to physical therapy and recreation in our state-of-the-art fitness and therapy center while reaping the emotional and social benefits of a warm and engaging community.
Spirituality and intellect are fed by nondenominational religious services and regular events meant to challenge the mind and enliven the soul. And when it comes to a supportive and encouraging environment, The Retreat is designed to be a comfortable and stimulating space where seniors of varying needs and abilities can live, grow, and thrive.
Our dedicated team is here to support you before, during, and after your parent’s transition to assisted living. Please contact us with questions or to schedule a live virtual tour today.