Helping a senior family member transition to assisted livings requires as much work from the family as it does from the elderly. The day after making the move is, perhaps, the most grueling as sadness takes over and anxieties kick in — and it all seems insurmountable from anyone’s view.
Luckily, it is. As a family helping the elderly, you just have to be guided by a timeline that eases them into moving to an assisted living facility, whether it’s in Pheonix, AZ or Denver, CO. Here’s what to do in every stage of the transition:
Months before – family agreeing on the decision
When opening the topic of moving to an assisted living facility, foresight is key. You don’t approach your senior loved ones when the transition is imminent, and you shouldn’tpressure them to the decision, too.
Even if your parents or grandparents are perfectly well, your family should explore the topic with them as early as possible. The conversation should be initiated by an adult child who will genuinely hear their thoughts about it.
Weeks before – mentally preparing for the move
Once they’ve consented, the preparation begins. Start slowly, though. Try starting a hobby they’ve been wanting to get into or engage them in a public activity like strolling in the park or joining tours to accustom them to more people.
You should also bring them to your chosen facility as often as possible. Highlight the fact that they’ll be more free and unhampered to do the things they enjoy once inside.
A day before – helping them decide what to pack
Ironic as it may sound, but seniors moving to an assisted living facility will benefit more from bringing less than more, and your family will be of great help in this downsizing. Besides picking the essentials, help them choose which personal belongings to bring, but make sure to leave them enough space to prepare and process the departure emotionally.
Day after – decorating their room to feel like home
The upside of downsizing is once they arrive in their room, they get to decorate it as much as they want to. You can lend minimal help for this — let them make it feel like home.
This period is probably the most distressing, so keep in close contact with the staff by receiving daily updates, but resist the temptation to visit frequently until they’ve adjusted.
Weeks after – getting them involved in the community
Once they’ve acclimatized during the first few weeks, you can now pay more visits, and your presence will now feel lighter and more relaxed. This is the best time to help them engage in community activities. Even something as simple as answering phones or joining a book club can help them feel more involved and purposeful. It helps their body and mind stay sharp, too.
Months after – keeping in touch and checking up
Once they have fully and amicably adjusted to assisted living, gained new friends, and started new passion projects, then taking them out to reminisce old habits shouldn’t be a problem. Take them to their favorite diner, have their hair done by their preferred hairdresser, or bring them to landmarks in their hometown. You can even bring some of the stuff that they kept when they downsized.
This transition is difficult, but it’s doable for everyone. Just don’t forget to visit as much as you can. Leverage technology to establish communication lines not only to keep checking up on them but to update them about your life, too.