Many things change when adults transition to their senior years. Some may struggle financially or get diagnosed with a disease. Others may experience emotional changes like the passing of a loved one or an adult child moving somewhere distant.
The fast changes happening in their lives make them cling to the constant things in their lives, such as their long-time home. It is their safe space, a haven filled with good memories throughout the years.
So, abandoning it would be a painful task for them, even if the transition to an assisted living facility concerns their declining health.
So before springing it upon them out of nowhere, put yourself in your loved one’s shoes first. Here are some tips on how to broach the subject with your loved one. Plus, how to make the transition go as smooth as possible for them.
1. Communicate With Compassion
Moving a senior into an assisted living community can be due to a lot of factors, like:
- Failing health or an underlying medical condition
- Inability to do daily living activities by themselves
- Compromised security and safety
- No available caregiver or family member to take on the job
If your loved one’s situation relates to any of the factors mentioned above, then it is safer for them to transition into a senior living community. These facilities specialize in providing long-term senior and health care to 60 and above adults who need it.
Once you have given it a thought, you can broach the subject openly with your loved one. Ask them how they feel about transitioning to a senior living community. Make sure to tell them that you empathize with how they feel towards the idea. Give them time to think about it.
Additionally, express your willingness to let them stay in their old home, but state the consequences of doing so. Talk about the benefits of having 24/7 assistance and the company they can have in the facility.
2. Make Them a Part of the Planning Process
Let your loved ones ease into the idea of moving on their own. Encourage a pleasant response from them by making them a part of the planning process. Let them have a say in their future by talking about the move with them. Suggest things like moving into a nearby facility or one that also houses one of their friends.
Help your loved one do the research and inquiries. Encourage them to go on senior home tours and offer to accompany them. Letting them see the incredible life waiting for them decreases their anxiety about moving out of their home.
3. Choose the Best Facility
In choosing the best assisted living facility, it would be best to have a checklist ready when visiting a prospective community. Discuss your loved one’s preferences regarding the amenities, activities, and floorplan of their new home. Follow their lead and give in to their reasonable requests as much as possible.
Do they want a community that has a swimming facility? Find one that has a pool. Do they want their new space to look like their old one? Then help them copy their bedroom or living room layout and incorporate it into their new home.
After deciding where to move, you can visit the community on your own and talk to the staff about specific concerns.
4. Start Preparing Ahead of Time
Make it a point to start planning and preparing months before moving day. This way, your loved ones can take their own sweet time in packing and decluttering.
Besides, moving is a stressful and emotional journey. Seeing their old things and unearthing sentimental items can make them nostalgic. Plus, cramming will only heighten you and your loved one’s stress level. So, do your preparations slowly but surely. Here are some tips to help you downsize your loved one’s home.
- Talk to your loved ones about the things they want to bring with them. Write it down so you won’t forget it.
- Pack familiar things like family photographs or their favorite teacup set.
- Organize items and label them to make unpacking easier.
- Break tasks into smaller ones to avoid exhausting your senior loved one.
- Get help from other family members or a moving company.
5. Help them Settle
Before the actual moving date, it would help to revisit the community with your loved one. But this time, let them experience it as a future resident rather than an observer. They can socialize with other seniors if they like, watch activities, or take a look around the facility.
Don’t make a big fuss out of the actual moving day. Make it as normal as possible. Accompany your loved one throughout the process, from moving and unpacking to settling in. You can stay there until the visiting hours’ end.
6. Bear With the Adjustment Stage
The first few weeks can be challenging for your loved one. So, it is vital to maintain communication through phone calls, chats, and video calls. Visit them as often as your schedule would allow.
Moreover, encourage them to socialize and join the activities that interest them. You can also help them make friends by chatting with other residents while you’re there.
Make sure to ask your loved ones about things that they might want to change or improve. For example, they might have a problem with the facility’s rules regarding gadget use. Or there’s a problem in their living space. Be an advocate for your parent and help them address these issues.
7. Coordinate With the Assisted Living Facility
The staff and caregivers are your partners in caring for your senior loved one. They are more experienced in this field and know what to do in certain situations.
Talk to them about you and your loved one’s concerns so they can help you. You can tell them about your loved one’s way of living or how they want certain things to be done. This way, caregivers can actively participate in easing your loved one’s transition. Also, they can help make his/her stay more enjoyable and wholesome.