Even after you’ve identified the right senior living community for your parent, there are still challenges that both of you may face. Chief among these is ensuring your loved one will be able to adapt to their new surroundings. The prospect of moving to a new environment is one that can bring trepidation, but careful preparation is the key to overcoming this hurdle. With that in mind, we’ve prepared these five tips that will help you minimize stress and pull off a flawless transition to assisted living.
Communication Is Key
There are more than a few particulars you and your parent will be dealing with during the moving process – packing, unpacking, meeting residents and staff, adapting to the new environment, etc.
Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your loved one is critical to making the transition successful. Talk at length about where your parent is moving, what the environment will be like, and the positive elements of their new surroundings. They’re undertaking a major life change, and just being able to talk through basic details will provide a significant confidence boost for them.
Throughout the moving process, try your best to keep conversations upbeat. Put the focus on your parent’s needs and wishes. Listen to their concerns (if they have any). Provide support in a patient and understanding manner. Once the move is complete, remember to keep those lines of communication open by calling and visiting as frequently as you are able (and your loved one is comfortable with).
Plan the Move Together
Resist the urge to “take over” and make all the decisions on behalf of your parent. The move is a team effort, so you’ll need to collaborate to make it work. Together, you should plan as many aspects of the move as you can.
- How large is the assisted living apartment?
- What rooms will you have to furnish?
- What will you bring from your parent’s current home?
- What items will you leave behind?
- How can you make the space feel “more like home?”
These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to ask yourselves prior to the move to ease the transition process. Additionally, you should make sure that you have the day of the move mapped out for success. Know who’s handling the heavy lifting (will you move their possessions, or will you hire a moving team?). Set a timetable, and make sure you have a “plan B” just in case something unforeseen happens.
Gather Friends and Family for Support
This isn’t a process you have to undertake alone. Having friends and family in the loop will help you in several ways:
- Beyond being a simple “shoulder to lean on,” friends and family create the support network you’ll need to stay strong during what might be a difficult time. They can provide invaluable encouragement, and speaking with them might help provide insights you may have missed on your own.
- During the move, friends and family can provide assistance in the form of planning, helping to move and arrange items in your parent’s new living space, etc.
- Even after the move, friends and family will still play a large role. They will continue to provide a base of support, and it will be good for both of you to have people to reach out and visit while your parent is getting settled.
Don’t discount the importance of friends and family; their efforts can make a significant difference, and provide a much-needed boost to your morale.
Organize and Personalize
When moving your parent into an assisted living community, your goal will be two-fold: to make the space feel homey and personal while simultaneously optimizing the placement of furniture (and other items) so that they can navigate their new home with ease. Downsizing will play a big role here, but make sure you hang on to special items that hold significant sentimental value.
Of course, your parent’s input should come into play as well. Talk with them about their favorite keepsakes, and be sure to transport those items into the new space. When arranging items in your loved one’s new home, consider their overall level of fitness and mobility. You can separate your parent’s possessions by category before your move so that unpacking and arranging everything will be a simpler task.
Post-move, you should remain a fixture in your parent’s life. Work out a schedule for talking with them and visiting when you can, make yourself available for them when they need you, and remain involved so that they can continue living their best life.
While visiting, strategize with your loved one about how they can make the most of their time. Encourage them to get involved with activities around the senior living community, and go over the community’s event calendar so you can identify what activities may interest them and get them in on the action.
Assisted living communities like the Cottages provide the combination of independence and community that makes transitioning to this new lifestyle even smoother. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us so that we can answer any questions you might have as soon as possible.