Once you’ve made the tender decision to put your beloved senior in an Assisted Living Facility, it may take some time for both the senior and you to adjust. This is especially true if the senior is your mother or father and the first time they are living with assistance and without their independence. The change can be a bit of a shock, to say the least. Helping your mom or dad adjust to assisted living can be difficult and cause anxious feelings as you question if you are making the right decision. But rest assured the adjustment is definitely doable and once the transition is made, everyone will feel better. Keep in mind that before moving day, the transition will be much easier if from day one your mom or dad has accepted the fact that they are moving to an assisted living facility. By helping them stay involved in a meaningful way – be it choosing the facility or helping to pack their own things – the next chapter in their life will unfold smoothly. By being a part of the process, they may even look forward to the idea of meeting new people and always having help close at hand.
Of course, there is always the chance that there will be much resistance. After all, change is difficult for anyone regardless of age and moving out of one’s treasured home can be frightening – especially if it means moving into a new living situation and community. Regardless of your mom or dad’s attitude about the move to an assisted living facility, it will take time for them to adjust to their new home, surroundings and brand new routine. Once you get through the first month of the transition and stay in touch with ongoing communication from all family members and friends, it will be much easier from there out. The following are a few ways that you can help show your support and make the move to an assisted living facility much easier for your senior parent.
Keep Old Routines
While this might be easier said than done, any amount of familiarity is helpful. For example, if your father is used to starting his day with the New York Times and a cup of coffee, try to keep that routine in place. Make arrangements to have his favorite newspaper delivered to the facility and be sure they serve fresh coffee. Additionally, if your beloved senior enjoys activities like jigsaw puzzles, knitting, or a favorite TV program, try to ensure that they have access to those things as well.
Regularly Check In and Communicate
Be sure to keep the lines of communication open and let them know they can call you any time. Encourage their friends and other family members to check in and regularly phone the senior to help them feel as though they are not alone. If possible, schedule calls with them so they have something to look forward to. The more you can insert calls and visits into their schedule the less forgotten they will feel – and you will remember as well!
Send Mail and Special Deliveries
Even if you regularly call and visit, your mom and dad would love to get a hand written note or special delivery from you. It could be a bouquet of flowers or a box of their favorite snacks and a good book. An occasional delivery lets them know you are thinking of them and is a meaningful way to say, “I’m here for you.”
Along with scheduling weekly or daily phone calls, it’s important to schedule regular visits too. You can go alone sometimes, bring family, neighbors, friends and other people to help reassure your mom and dad that they have a strong network of people who truly love them. Stop in and have a meal with them or enjoy one of the activity classes. If possible, see if you can take them off the property and do something fun with them such as see a movie, go out for ice cream, or even take them to their favorite barber for a haircut.
Moving is always known to be a stressful time, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that your mom or dad is feeling apprehensive about the move to an assisted living facility. If you take advantage of these tips and include the senior in the decision, you and they will find peace in this big decision.
If you feel it’s time to look for an assisted living facility for your loved one, you’ve come to the right place. Our website maintains a searchable database of assisted living facilities in Maryland and other states. To use this site’s search feature, just enter your desired location in the search box and click on the search icon.
Photo Credit: Broadmoor Assisted living