Some elderly Americans look forward to moving into independent and assisted living communities knowing that they will be able to live out their golden years in peace. Others have a more difficult time transitioning from their old homes to new ones. Either way, it’s important for the adult children of aging parents to provide as much support and assistance as they can to ease the transition. Focusing on how to make the transition as smooth as possible will always be important.
Get Involved From the Start
Most seniors need some help moving to new communities even if they’re relatively independent. Getting involved from the very beginning can make it easier to offer help as moving day approaches, so ask to go along on tours of local assisted living communities, and pay attention to things like the size of the apartments, the level of care offered, and whether pets are allowed.
Plan Enough Time for Packing
It’s best to start the packing process early to allow as much time as needed. Remember, family homes are often filled with accumulated possessions, and many of them hold sentimental as well as practical value. Unfortunately, only those items that will fit in the new assisted living apartment can be brought along.
Make packing easier by starting with smaller rooms and areas of the home that feel less personal, such as bathrooms and guest rooms, and help with making tough decisions. Many seniors feel that giving away beloved possessions to other family members and friends is more satisfying than throwing them in the trash, so keep that in mind when helping to narrow down the list of things to bring.
Set Up Services in Advance
While assisted living communities offer all the independent living services required for seniors to maintain a high quality of life, there are some things they don’t offer. For example, when moving to a new town, seniors and their families will have to set up doctors’ appointments to transition care to new teams. Dealing with those kinds of practical matters in advance will remove some stress when making the move.
Be Prepared for an Emotional Experience
Even seniors who have made the choice independently to move to an assisted living community usually experience some strong emotions as they say goodbye to their family homes. Take the time to listen to their fears and concerns, then help them through the process by offering emotional support and finding ways to reframe the move in their minds. After all, moving to a new community is just as exciting as it is scary. Reminding seniors of all the social opportunities and activities they’ll have access to in their new homes instead of focusing on the past can help.
Make the New Apartment Feel Like Home
For most people, moving into assisted living means downsizing their lives. There will be no way to fit large furniture in a small apartment, but that doesn’t mean family members can’t make it feel like home. Bring along favorite photographs, artwork, books, and albums, and set them up in places where they are easy to see. Don’t forget about minor comforts like a favorite coffee mug or clock. These seemingly small details can make a big difference when it comes to making a new apartment feel like home.
Visit Often in the First Few Months
It usually takes three to six months for a new resident to adjust to assisted living, though for some, the process may be even longer. Try to set aside extra time for visits during the first few months, and pay attention during those visits. If there are problems that arise, act as an advocate. No senior living community is perfect, and while there are some things new residents will just have to adjust to, there may be ways to improve the loved ones’ experiences.
Frequent visits from loved ones can help ease the transition to assisted living, but it’s also important to set clear boundaries. There’s no way for family members to be on-call 24/7, and it wouldn’t help to field multiple phone calls a day or find that parents are spending all of their time waiting in their rooms for visitors to call. Spend some extra time with senior loved ones, but make it clear that they should still live their own lives.
Find a New Home
Moving into assisted living in San Antonio, TX, doesn’t have to mean leaving home behind. The residents of Villa de San Antonio have found a new home that offers not just a greater degree of supportive services but also a warm, friendly community. Give us a call at (210) 558-7600 to schedule a tour today.