Like any significant life change, the transition from living independently to an assisted living community takes some getting used to. It’s not uncommon for you or your loved one to experience worry and anxiety throughout the process. However, you’ll need to play an active role in the transition, so your loved one feels supported. Including your loved one in the conversation surrounding making the transition to an assisted living community is the first step in easing their anxiety. After that, you can utilize many more tips to help your loved one feel comfortable in their new home.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living communities offer long-term housing and care for aging adults. Those that live in assisted living communities are active but usually need support with activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include activities like bathing, using the toilet, and dressing. Every assisted living community is different regarding the offered services and amenities. However, your loved one can expect a personalized care plan, nutritious meals, social activities, and a sense of community. Assisted living communities worldwide focus on three foundational pillars to prolong cognitive decline and keep residents healthier and happier for more extended periods:
- Physical health: Every aging adult’s health needs are different, which is why assisted living communities develop a personalized care plan for your aging parent. Perhaps they need reminders to take daily medication or require assistance with fine motor skills. Assisted living communities offer a little bit of everything, so your loved one can stay happy and healthy.
- Intellectual stimulation: Assisted living communities offer various classes and learning opportunities to help keep your loved one engaged and stimulated throughout each day.
- Social connection: A feeling of community is vital for a healthy, happy life. Whether one-on-one with a member of the care team or attending a social program or outing, there are plenty of opportunities for your loved one to socialize in an assisted living community.
There are many ways you can help your loved one settle into an assisted living community, and the care team at New Perspective has compiled a few of the most effective ways. Read on to learn how you can assist in making the transition easy and seamless for your loved one.
1. Include Your Loved One in Conversation
Discussing your loved one’s quality of life can be uncomfortable. However, preparing for and having the conversation is essential for their overall health and safety. It’s worthwhile to include your loved one in the conversation surrounding transitioning into an assisted living community, so they don’t feel left out or like a decision is being made for them. By including your loved one in this critical conversation, you’ll be able to gather a big picture perspective of any concerns, anxieties, activity and amenity preferences, and more.
2. Choose the Right Assisted Living Community
Not every assisted living community is created equally, and finding the right one for your loved one is vital. If your loved one ends up in an assisted living community that isn’t a good fit, it can lead to unnecessary trouble and unhappiness. To help your loved one feel comfortable with making the transition into an assisted living community, it’s recommended to spend ample time in the selection process. After visiting several communities, create a list of your top five locations and complete the following checklist:
- Talk to staff and administrators
- Visit prospective communities
- Read reviews
- Assess activities and amenities
- Gauge how your loved one will get along with other residents
- Explore meal selection
- Other details important to you and your loved one
3. Make It Look Like Home
Your loved one has spent many years in their current home. Making the transition into an assisted living community can be a significant change – especially when leaving memories and belongings behind. To help your loved one become comfortable in their new home, you encourage and assist them in making the new space their own. Filling an unfamiliar space with meaningful items can quickly make it into an environment that’s more familiar and comfortable. Whether you add framed photos, go shopping for other décor items, or outfit the space with sheets and drapes in their favorite color, there are many steps you can take to help your loved one make their new home feel like home.
4. Visit Often
Many aging adults are intimidated by the thought of transitioning into an assisted living community because they don’t want to be abandoned by their loved ones. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to create a regular schedule for family visits and outings. Your loved one’s new home may be in a different city or state, but most commonly, an assisted living community is selected nearby, so they can stay close to what matters most – their family. You can spend quality time with your loved one by accompanying them to appointments, having dinner, playing a board game, going on walks, and more. Deciding to move your loved one into an assisted living community is a significant life change, so make the experience fun and normal for them by regularly spending time.
5. Encourage Activity Participation
Jumping into a new environment can be wearing for anyone, but there’s no better way to help your loved one adjust than encouraging their involvement in offered activities. Participating in activities will help your loved one meet new companions and ensure their cognitive functioning stays intact. Assisted living communities worldwide offer various activities so aging adults can remain engaged and have fun in their new homes. A few of the activities and amenities offered at New Perspective assisted living communities are:
- Group outings
- Craft clubs
- Guest speakers & musicians
- Movie nights
- Book clubs
- Happy hours
- Exercise classes
- Communal dining
- Holiday celebrations
6. Applaud Socialization and Community
Humans thrive off socialization no matter their age – encourage your loved one to develop a social life within their new home. While there are many activities available for your loved one to participate in, it’s just as essential to build relationships with other residents and the care team. Many assisted living communities offer meetups for like-minded residents or those with similar interests, and activities like these can be something to consider when selecting your loved one’s new home. Assisted living communities are designed to help your loved one flourish and ensure they’re continuing to live a happy life. Many aging adults build their greatest friendships within these communities, and your loved one can too.
Support Your Loved One in Their Move
Choosing to make the transition into an assisted living community is a big decision, and your loved one will appreciate you being by their side every step of the way. Whether you’re just beginning the selection process or already have an assisted living community selected, it’s worthwhile to become familiar with the numerous tips to help ease your loved one’s anxiety. The care team at New Perspective is here for your loved one, and we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our assisted living communities.