Change is a continual part of life, and even so, accepting change and adapting to it is always challenging. It is certainly true for loved ones who are making the transition from their home to an assisted living community. Some seniors adapt easily to the new community, becoming socially active quickly, others experience anxiety and uncertainty, fearful of the new environment. Considering that most people take up to six months to adjust when moving to a new location, you can help your beloved senior adjust more quickly to his or new community by offering support, encouragement, and reassurance. Here are some tips to help you make the transition easier for your loved one.
Visit Often and Stay in Touch
By visiting often, you reassure your loved one that he or she hasn’t been abandoned. Encourage family members and friends to do the same, but not so much as to limit their ability to socialize with potential new friends in the community. It is a balancing act, one in which you give your loved one the space needed to make venture outside their new home and make friends with their new neighbors.
Just as important as visiting is to reassuring your loved one of your love and support, so is staying in touch on the days in between your visits. Most seniors are sufficiently tech-savvy to use smart phones and Skype to keep communication lines open. Knowing they can easily get in touch with you can go a long way in helping your loved one settle in!
The Personal Touch
Because downsizing is part of the move to an assisted living community, it is important to encourage your loved one to keep special possessions for décor in their new home. Keeping beloved items from his or her home can mean a lot toward helping your loved one make the transition and get settled in their new space. It can be as simple as keeping a favorite chair or placing a familiar book, CD, or family photo by their bedside. Allow your loved one to make the decisions for their new space from layout to colors to décor and guide them in order to keep their new living space functional and safe.
Provide Patience and Understanding
Transitioning to a new home is challenging, and for many seniors it is even more challenging when downsizing into an assisted living environment. All the more reason for you to be positive, while still acknowledging the stress of the changes. Be empathetic and, as mentioned, stay in touch. Be patient and listen with understanding, offering solutions to help your loved one adjust more easily. Encourage your loved one to join in the activities and events available through the assisted living community or to volunteer for available opportunities there. Always listen attentively and with understanding as they acclimate to their new home.
The goal is to see that your loved one is being properly cared for in the best possible environment while encouraging his or her independence. It is a fine line, but doing so will help loved one’s overall well-being and boost his or her self-confidence. While assisted living facilities offer customize care services, they promote independent living. As you lend the support needed to help your loved one adjust successfully, don’t be overprotective. Independence is the key to a successful transition and a vibrant lifestyle.
The staff members at best assisted living communities work hard to help seniors get involved. They also go the extra mile to see that entertainment and health needs are met. A part of this process includes you meeting and making connections with the staff to discuss your loved one’s needs. As your loved one adjusts to their new living space, a talk with the staff can often help you understand how the acclimation is progressing and what you and the staff can do together to make the transition a success.
Transition and Transportation
Many seniors who make the transition to assisted living also must adjust to giving up their driving independence. Stellar Transport can help ease the transition with door-through-door transportation services for your beloved senior.