Helping Parents Transition to Assisted Living
7 Tips for Helping Parents Transition to Assisted Living
When you’re moving a parent to assisted living, you may be tempted to make the process as quick as possible, thinking that that will help ease the transition. However, taking the time to have a thoughtful, communicative approach where your parent is an active participant in the decision process will help both you and them feel the most excited and comfortable during the move.
- Keep lines of communication open
It is important to keep the conversation going between you and your parent, no matter what stage of the moving process. Ensure that your parent is part of the discussion by asking them their opinions and input and making sure that there is space for them to ask questions and voice concerns. Withholding information from your parent can disrupt their trust and add to anxiety about moving, and so it’s important to communication to them clearly and openly, even if there are steps that need to be done in a certain way. Acknowledging to your parent that this is a big transition will help them feel seen and cared for, and like you understand their process and needs.
- Take tours of the community whenever possible
Taking a tour of the assisted living facility is an excellent way to get your parent familiar with their new home and environment. Don’t be afraid to schedule more than one tour; it may take more than an initial visit to get acquainted with the community and to know what questions to ask. Even virtual tours can be helpful in making your parent more comfortable in their new space. If they are moving to a new city, setting aside time for exploring their new town is also a crucial step in the moving process.
Tours can also help your parent decide what they do, or don’t, like about a community, and it will give them more agency in the decision-making process of the move to assisted living.
- Create a new, fun routine and get involved
A relaxed routine can be a helpful and healthy way to create stability in a new environment. With so many activities and programming offered at Sunny Vista, we have found that creating a schedule can go a long way toward making friends and feeling at home in a new community. If you can help your parent to create a schedule like what they had in their own home, such as talking a morning walk or playing cards after lunch, this will help create a familiar and welcoming environment and make the transition to assisted living easier.
- Be your parent’s best advocate
During the transition to assisted living, it’s important to give the move time and allow for your parent to adjust and settle into a new routine. It is also important for you to continue to listen to them and help advocate for them and their needs. Share in their excitement when they make new friends or start a new hobby, and also trust your instincts if you feel that there are adjustments that can be made to help your parent live their best and most energized live in assisted living.
- Make lists and plan ahead.
Before the move date, help your parent feel secure and comfortable by making a schedule of the transition. It can also help to make lists of items and belongings that will be going with your parent to their new home, what items they may want to get rid of or donate, and which things can go into storage. Keep these lists visible so that your parent can revisit them at any time if they are feeling anxious about the move. A move to assisted living is also a great time to replace any worn out clothes or other belongings, so that your parent can start fresh and feeling and looking good.
- Get to know the staff
Make it a priority to get to know the staff at your parent’s new community, even if you are many miles away. This can mean taking a moment to check in when you call, or to learn the staff’s names when you visit. This will help your parent feel like their life is not a strange setting to you, and that the people involved in their day-to-day life are as familiar to you as they are to your parent.
- Remember that the transition will take time.Any move requires an adjustment period. Assure your parent that it is normal to feel some worry, and it’s okay if they don’t feel comfortable on their first night in a new home. Making sure that your parent feels like they can voice their concerns and fears to you, and trusting that the process may take a few days or week, will go a long way in them feeling at home in their new environment.
Pinnacle Customer Experience Award
Sunny Vista Senior Living is excited to announce that the Living Center at Sunny Vista and the Retreat at Sunny Vista have both been awarded the 2022 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award.