Settling into an assisted living community can be daunting. Even if your loved one views such a move as an exciting new chapter, the process itself can be overwhelming for both of you. What do we bring? How much space will my mom or dad now have?
According to studies, there are more than 835,000 Americans currently residing in assisted living communities. Approximately 1 million Americans live in some type of senior living community, and that number is expected to double by the year 2030.
We have some tips that may help make the transition smooth for all involved.
Adjusting to Life at an Assisted Living Community
Get involved before the move.
Children, young people, adults, and older folks - many people struggle with change. For older adults who have lived in their homes for decades, moving can be a challenge. Giving up a house with many fond memories attached to it can be like saying goodbye to a cherished friend.
One suggestion is to get involved in the assisted living community before moving. While COVID-19 has restricted tours of such communities, ask to speak to a representative of the Activities Department at your loved one’s future home and become familiar with operations. They may be able to offer you a virtual tour and run down the creative ideas staff have come up with to keep residents safely engaged in activities and events during the pandemic.
Take your time downsizing and moving.
Unless your loved one must move quickly for a health reason or if their house is sold, try to establish timelines that will allow your mom or dad to ease into this huge step. There are many tasks associated with downsizing and moving that it’s easy to be paralyzed by all of the details.
Some older adults and their families wait to list or sell the house until after the move. Then you can set up a more reasonable schedule for downsizing and selling the home.
Make their new home resemble the old one.
A new environment and unfamiliar faces can be intimidating, especially for the more reserved. One tip to settle in faster is to make your loved one’s room look and feel familiar - decorate it, so it resembles home.
While your mom or dad most likely won’t be able to bring large items such as furniture, keep treasured photos, knickknacks, comfortable bedding, and more, to give them a sense of their old home.
It’s important to remind yourself that your loved one will have good and bad days during this time. Most residents find as the weeks go by, the good days outnumber the bad. Be patient and kind to yourself while they are adjusting to this change.
Have a Plan
Some families find it helpful to have a plan in place for handling when their loved one has a bad day. It might be an agreement to call you or a sibling or to open a photo album, so that treasured memories can serve to comfort your mom or dad during a period of anxiety.
No matter the transition, rest assured that communities such as Maine Veterans’ Homes are with you and your loved one every step of the way. Each care plan is as individual as the resident, and we’re happy to go above and beyond to help your loved one feel comfortable.
About Maine Veterans’ Homes
With six locations throughout the state, Veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents find a place where they feel welcomed at Maine Veterans’ Homes and receive the excellent care they deserve. Please find out more about guidelines for becoming a resident at MVH, download our free Eligibility Guide >>>