Helping Parents Make the Transition to Assisted Living

Moving to assisted living can be difficult for seniors and for families who want what’s best for a loved one, but experience shows it can also be a time for gaining greater independence, making new friends, and living a more fulfilling life. To make the move as easy and stress-free as possible, here are tips for family and friends.

Include seniors in the process

When a senior is ready to make the move to assisted living, it may seem easier for the family to just take over the process and “handle” it for them. In truth, however, including your loved one in every aspect from talking about choices to researching senior living communities to setting up their new home will make a world of difference. Seniors will feel part of the decision-making process and that their opinion matters, especially when it comes to their safety and happiness. Not sure how to do it right? Our blog, “When Is It the Right Time to Talk About Senior Living?” can help.

Choose the right community

Where you live matters, so choosing the perfect assisted living community is key to ensuring your loved one is not only safe and secure but enjoying the lifestyle they prefer in a place where they feel welcome and cared for. Start by researching communities in preferred locations and then narrow it down to the top three. Next, schedule tours so your loved one can experience the community, see potential living accommodations, meet team members and residents, and enjoy a meal in the dining room. Be sure to also ask about amenities, planned activities, social interaction, and dining options. To make sure you get all the information needed to make the best choice, before your tour, read our blog, “I Want Answers! 8 Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Senior Living Community.”

Make it home

Downsizing (at Thrive, we call this “right-sizing”) for assisted living can be a big change for older adults, so work with them to choose the furniture and other belongings that will best optimize the space and make it feel like home. That means not only utilitarian pieces like tables and chairs but also those possessions that are dearest, like family heirlooms, favorite art, and family photos. At Thrive, our team is always mindful of the importance of making a new assisted living apartment feel like home and can help older adults and their families create an abode that is safe, comfortable, and a reflection of the new resident who lives there. Get more ideas in our blog, “New to an Assisted Living Community? Decorate & Design Your Home to Fit Your Style.”

Help them meet new people

Seniors, like anyone, can be a little uneasy in new situations, but with a little help, they can quickly go from being the new kid on the block to being one of the gang! The quickest way to initiate this transition is to go with them to planned activities and social events where they can meet and get to know other residents. Of course, team members will also be ready to assist as well, and at Thrive we take special care to help new residents connect with others right from the start, with the understanding that some older adults may be ready on day one, while others will need to take it slower. Our blog, “Making New Friends in Assisted Living,” looks at ways family and team members can make meeting new people fun and stress-free.

Don’t be a stranger

When the move is complete and your loved one is settling in, don’t forget to call or visit and continue to include them in all the normal family activities they are used to. One way to do it without crowding them is to set up a schedule for calls and visits as they prefer, so they can plan accordingly.  It may be once a week or a few times each month, whichever is best for your loved one. If possible, it’s also fun to include them in plans for outings to local venues like stores or restaurants or for special occasions to see a show or attend a concert. Also be sure to invite them to family events like birthday celebrations, holiday gatherings, and day trips to the zoo with grandkids, just like before the move. This shows a loved one that they remain a valuable part of the family and will also assuage feelings of loneliness they might be experiencing. 

At Thrive Senior Living our name is the driving spirit behind everything we do to provide a community where older adults can live their best possible lives, all day, every day. Find out what we can do for your loved one by scheduling a tour at one of our beautiful communities.  

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