Mom and Dad are Moving into an Assisted Living Community. So What’s Next?
We will all move into a new residence at least once in our lifetime. Some of us may move several times depending on where life takes us. Think about the planning and stress that we experienced when we made such moves. The financial planning, packing, logistics and even that one minute in the middle of all of it, where we ask ourselves, “Did we make the right decision?”
Now imagine what our aging loved ones experience when they make the decision to move, or in most cases the decision is made for them, into a community that delivers the supportive services they now need; not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to.
This transition, often defined in the first few weeks of residency, is crucial to your relative’s feeling of comfort, safety and happiness. So ask yourself what you can do to facilitate your loved ones’ smooth transition? What are your expectations of the staff in helping to make your loved one feel at home?
You want to ensure that the staff is welcoming and understands the anxiety that a new resident feels. A sense of belonging is often questioned. This can be answered by the social interaction of your loved one with current residents. An interview from the Social Programs Coordinator on Mom or Dad’s interests and hobbies should be done very early, so they can be engaged in purposeful activities.
Discussion of your loved one’s wellness needs, such as how medications are managed or dietary requirements are communicated allay those fears that residents can have early on. Equally as important, is to make the apartment look like home. Help to decorate to your loved one’s liking. It’s important to balance décor with safety and simplicity. An educated team can help guide you in this regard.
And finally, be supportive in this transition! Support can come in different ways. It can be to physically be there often during the beginning or allow room for your loved one to establish themselves and settle in before visiting regularly. Professional staff can give positive input into the process, so consultation with the community is key.