Change is hard, even if it’s a change for the better. When an older loved one begins to show signs that they’d benefit from the daily support available in assisted living, the transition can be difficult, even if you both recognize the many advantages of senior living. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your parent adjust more easily. Learn more about how to ease the transition to assisted living for your loved one.
Listen to Their Concerns
It’s understandable if the move to assisted living has sparked grief or anxiety in your loved one. While it can be challenging to listen to their concerns — especially if it triggers your own guilt and anxiety on their behalf — giving your parent space to express their negative feelings will help them feel supported. Remember not to take what they say personally; they’re simply expressing feelings that are natural during a major life transition.
Highlight the Benefits
Before the move, talk about the community features that appeal to your loved one. Maybe it’s having a maintenance-free home, amenities like an on-campus pool and art studio, or the security of knowing there’s a helping hand when they need it. Look over the activities calendar with them, so they can start planning which pursuits they want to engage in. Having something to look forward to can boost their morale as they go through the difficult work of leaving their former home behind.
Help Them Feel at Home
As you help your parent sort and pack their belongings, let the question of how to ease the transition to assisted living guide your decisions about what to keep. Decorating their new home with familiar belongings — such as family photos and favorite artwork on the walls, and a cherished quilt on the bed —can create a bridge that connects their past and future. Consider stocking their new cupboards with a few of their favorite treats, too. They’ll feel cared for and content, which can boost their confidence and resilience.
Don’t Rush It
It can take weeks — or even months — for your parent to fully adjust to their new life in assisted living, and they may experience a roller coaster of emotions as they acclimate. Keep reminding yourself of the many reasons assisted living is the right choice for them, such as support with daily tasks, social connection, and delicious meals they don’t have to prepare for themselves. With time, your parent will come to appreciate these benefits, too.
Plan Your Visits
Frequent visits during their first few weeks in assisted living may provide just the support your parent needs. Or they may rely so heavily on your comforting presence that they don’t seek out the friends and activities that will help them adjust to their new home. You know your parent best and can decide how frequently you should visit in the beginning. Whatever you decide, make sure to plan your visits ahead of time. Knowing when they can expect to see you will give your loved one both a pleasant sense of anticipation and a feeling of control.
Even if your loved one is adjusting smoothly, knowing they have a strong support system will boost their confidence and lift their spirits. Ask other family members to visit when possible, or to send mail or supportive texts. If feasible, consider a group get-together, such as a family swim at the community’s pool. Being able to share the amenities with family can help your mom or dad appreciate their new lifestyle more.
Avoid Excess Novelty
You may be tempted to buy your loved one a new TV, phone, or coffee maker to make their new home seem more special. Keep in mind, however, that their days will be bursting with novelty for the first several weeks after their move. Having to figure out a new remote control may seem more overwhelming than helpful at first.
Connect with Staff Members
In assisted living, your loved one has a support team that includes nurses, certified nursing assistants, and other staff members who are available 24/7 to provide the helping hand your parent needs to flourish. They can also be valuable allies in helping your parent acclimate to their new surroundings. Tap into their expertise by asking them for advice on how to ease the transition to assisted living.
Support for a Vibrant Lifestyle at Westminster Village
With new, maintenance-free apartments with luxury finishes and personalized assistance from caring staff, assisted living at Westminster Village offers the support your loved one needs to enjoy a flourishing lifestyle. Amenities such as two indoor heated pools, two game rooms, arts and crafts studios, and our state-of-the-art Live Well Fitness & Rehab Center invite meaningful engagement. Convenience services like scheduled transportation, an on-campus salon, and banking and postal services support independence. Contact us to learn more about the perks — and peace of mind — you and your loved one will find at Westminster Village.