Moving to assisted living in a senior living community can be a daunting process, especially if your parents have lived in their home for many years. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to streamline the transition to assisted living.
Once you and your loved one have decided it is the right time, there are several steps that you should take to prepare for a move to assisted living. Our tips below will cover the period leading up to the move and ways to help your loved one settle comfortably into their new home.
How To Prepare for the Move
1. Find a community that fits your loved one’s needs.
First, think about your loved one’s lifestyle, preferences and needs. Consider which amenities and services might be most important for your loved one – and which you might not need in a community. To avoid having to make a rushed decision due to a crisis or situation that requires an immediate move, start the process as early as possible. It’s never too early to start considering your options.
2. Visit communities to see them in person.
The best way to get to know a community is to visit it in person. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to meet the team – and even the current residents – to get firsthand insight into the lifestyle, care and services. Often, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a meal in the dining room or attend an event on campus. This will help you gauge what community will best fit with your loved one’s personality, interests and needs.
3. Prioritize as you help your loved one pack.
You don’t have to pack everything right away; prioritize the most important items first. You can organize the process by creating lists, such as items your loved one wants to take along to their new home or those to be passed down as a family heirloom. Another good tip is to start in one room – and then move on to the next. Focus on creating a plan for the bigger items first, and then work on putting smaller items into keep, donate or throw away piles. Try to break the process into simple, smaller tasks.
4. Take time to consider logistics.
If your loved one will be living in a new community, make a list of tasks to be completed such as canceling ongoing utilities and forwarding mail to their new community address from the postal service. Remember to update their new address with medical offices, insurance, financial institutions and social security. The community where your loved one is moving can also be a great resource to help you with these logistical items.
5. Give your loved one time to adjust emotionally.
The transition to a senior living community can bring up a range of emotions for a senior loved one, especially when leaving a long-time family home. These feelings are completely normal when preparing to move to a new home. One of the best ways to overcome fears is to talk about them. Encourage your loved one to talk to family members and friends about the positives that come along with a move.
6. Give your loved ones a hand as they set up their new space.
Getting your loved ones used to their new living space is the best way to help them feel comfortable. Help them arrange their furniture and decorations in a way that they like. Finding the right place to display items that can make your loved ones feel at home.
Tips for the First Week in Senior Living
1. Encourage your loved one to meet their neighbors.
Your loved one will likely become good friends with their new neighbors, and you should encourage them to introduce themselves. At Waterstone at Wellesley, a Welcoming Committee is assigned to help residents adjust to community life. Ask if the community offers a similar program to support new residents.
2. Encourage your loved one to get to know the team.
One of the best ways for new residents to feel more at home is to get to know the team members who are there to support and care for them. Among the people your loved one will meet are the management team, nurses, dining staff, maintenance providers, the life enrichment team, and fitness instructors. Tell your loved one not to be afraid to ask any questions they may have about the community’s services – at any time. It is the job of the entire team to make your loved one feel comfortable.
3. Be sure to spend time with your loved one.
The first few weeks in the community are particularly crucial. Aim to visit your loved one regularly, if possible, to help encourage a smooth and healthy transition into the community. Your loved one will appreciate the support and knowledge that you are there for them. If you can’t visit, talk with the community team about regular calls, video chats or other ways you can support your loved one with the move from a distance.
4. Promote participation in community events.
Check out the social calendar for the community and find ways to get your loved one interested in attending the various social, cultural and educational events. Learning about the available amenities and getting to know other residents is a great way to start off. Encourage your loved one to start with activities they are sure to like – and then branch out from there. They may just discover a new favorite hobby!
Waterstone at Wellesley. Now This Is Home.
Waterstone at Wellesley offers independent living and assisted living options in beautiful Wellesley, along the banks of the Charles River.