How to Transition Your Aging Parent into Assisted Living
If you’ve realized that your parent would benefit from the support and services in an assisted living community, you’re in the midst of a major undertaking. There are the logistics of choosing the best assisted living community, selling and packing up your parent’s home, and getting them settled into their new residence. But there’s also an emotional element to transitioning to assisted living. Your parent is likely feeling anxious, sad and uncertain. And you may be feeling a little guilty as you try to figure out how best to help them acclimate to this change. Our guide to easing the transition can help.
Add Personal Touches
For many older adults, downsizing is part of the process of transitioning to assisted living. But even though your parent can’t bring all their belongings with them, they can bring some of their most cherished possessions. Hang family photos and treasured artwork on the walls. Make sure that when your parent opens the cupboard in their new kitchen, their favorite coffee mug is waiting for them. Stock the fridge with treats. And cover their bed with a cozy, much-loved blanket or quilt. Little touches like these can help your parent feel at home in their new apartment.
Let Time Work Its Magic
It can take weeks or months for your parent to fully adjust to their new life in assisted living. Trust the process. As they make friends, find activities they enjoy and get to know staff members, they’ll feel more comfortable and come to appreciate the benefits of assisted living — the social life, activities, services and support that enable them to live a more engaged and active life than they could in their home.
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
It’s common to second-guess your decision to move your parent into assisted living. You’ll wonder if you should have waited longer or if there were other options. Guilt is natural, but that doesn’t mean your decision was wrong. Keep reminding yourself that your parent is getting the assistance they need to live as independently as possible. And remember that you’re also benefiting from the peace of mind of knowing they’re safe and supported.
Help Them Get the Lay of the Land
The staff will help your parent get acclimated, making sure they know where features like the fitness center, salon, library and dining venues are. But you can help, too. Let them take you on a tour of their favorite areas. Or read over the activities calendar with them and ask them what sounds fun. This can help them begin to take ownership of the many opportunities in their new community.
Your parent is likely to feel scared and vulnerable when they first move to assisted living. Visits from you will help them know they’re loved and cared for. Enlist the help of other family and friends, as well, asking them to call or drop in for visits when they can. But be aware that too much attention from you can prevent your parent from putting forth the effort to make new friends, find activities they enjoy and get more comfortable in their new home. You know your parent best and will be able to find the right balance between attending to their needs and giving them space.
Be Prepared for Setbacks
There will likely be ups and downs in the course of transitioning to assisted living. Your parent may have days when they feel happily engaged with new people and activities and other days when they tell you they’re unhappy and want to go home. Acknowledge the challenges they’re experiencing and let them express their fears and concerns. It will help them to feel heard and, over time, their anxieties will decrease as they begin to feel more at home.
Assisted Living at Sagewood
Although the transition to assisted living can be difficult, at Desert Willow, the assisted living neighborhood at Sagewood, your parent will discover that they’ve made the best possible choice for their health and well-being. Caring, competent staff members offer 24/7 support, assisting with activities of daily living, like grooming, bathing, dressing and medication management. A fitness center, library and outdoor patios, and a full calendar of social and recreational activities encourage your parent to connect with others and engage in activities they enjoy. And comfortably appointed apartment homes give them a private haven of their own. Contact us to learn more about our exceptional assisted living neighborhood, or to schedule a tour.