It can be hard for a loved one to transition to senior living housing after staying in their home for so many years. In most cases, it’s the biggest adjustment that someone will ever make in their senior years. It’s impossible to get rid of all the fears and anxieties that accompany moving. But, there are some things you can do to make the transition easier for both of you.
Here is a list of tips for transitioning to senior living housing.
Part 1: Preparing for the Move
Once the decision has been made to transition, there are some steps that you should follow to be prepared. The best advice for preparing to move into senior living housing is as follows:
Find the Best Community
Invest the time into touring several of your preferred type of senior living communities. That could be assisted living, independent living, memory care communities, nursing care, etc. Touring your preferred type of facility will allow you to get a feel for the social dynamics, the dining, amenities, and how each place feels to be at.
Research the Costs
When deciding, make sure that you clearly understand how each community does its pricing. Some pricing models will be “all-inclusive,” while others will provide “levels of care” type pricing. The former has a single monthly cost covering everything, while the latter is a tiered system of pricing that’s based on the kind of care your loved one receives.
Double Check Your Choice
After settling on a community, you should tour or visit it one last time before moving into it. You’ll also get the chance to become more familiar with it before making your final choice. During your last visit, tour the campus, talk to the residents, join in on a community social event, or eat a meal in their dining area.
Pack Properly and Purposefully
First of all, see if the community offers packing services. Having help with the packing will make the transition into senior living housing so much easier. While you pack, make sure that you’re prioritizing the most important stuff first. Also, don’t feel like you have to pack everything in a single day all at once. Make lists to keep your process organized, and you can save more time that way. Begin with the essential stuff like clothes, toiletries, medicines, furniture, and bedding. Then you can move on to the smaller things that might be important but are still tucked away.
Cancel Services and Update Addresses
Whenever you move, whether it’s senior living housing or elsewhere, there are logistical items that must be handled. Have a plan about canceling ongoing services that you will no longer be using. For example, cable and internet might be provided in your new community. Remember to contact the postal service so that their mail can get forwarded from their previous address to the community’s address. And be sure that the new address is reflected on bank accounts, credit cards, subscriptions, or wherever else it may be listed.
Be Patient and Lean on Support
No matter how much you’ve both prepared for this day, it can still be nerve-wracking. Nobody is ever completely ready for it, so feelings of apprehension or fear are totally normal. Now is the time to lean on your social circles for more support. Whether they be family, friends, or online support groups. Discussing your fears is a good method of overcoming them. Most importantly, be patient. Everyone’s timeline for emotional acceptance is different, and that is fine.
Make it Feel Like Home
Among the top methods of helping someone become comfortable in a new living space is to make it remind them of home. For example, you can put décor and furniture in similar places as before. Put the most sentimental things in prominent places, and this can do much to soften up the place. That same kind of packing service we mentioned earlier can also help with this task.
Part 2: Right After Moving
Adjusting to senior living housing won’t happen right away. From the moment they arrive, to the end of their first week, your senior loved one will be quite busy in their new home and community. Here’s how they can make the most of these initial days in senior living housing:
Meet the Neighbors
Your senior living housing can vary, but apartments are the most common. In that case, there will be many neighbors in the hallway, on the floor they are living on, or maybe even right next door. Everyone there has the potential to be a good friend. So, feel free to encourage your loved one to introduce themselves to everyone in the vicinity.
If in Doubt, Ask the Staff Questions
Also, during that first week, your loved one should become acquainted with many of the staff working in the community. They will also meet caregivers who will help make a care plan for your loved one. There are many other staff members that they will likely meet too, such as nurses, social directors, and dining staff. The community’s job is to ensure that every resident lives in comfort, so feel free to ask any questions of the staff.
Visits From Family
During this critical time, you should take some time to visit your loved one regularly or as much as you are able. It’s an important time for them since they’ll be getting settled in, and that process will be easier for them if they don’t feel abandoned. A schedule for visiting them would be helpful. Having meals with them there is also an excellent way to spend quality time with them during this time.
Join Clubs and Groups
Most senior living housing communities have clubs or groups you can join that focus on specific hobbies and interests. A group’s focus could be as simple as card games or as meaningful as Bible study. It’s a good idea for your loved one to speak with the community social director and other residents to find out what’s available and what they may like to join.