Adjusting to Assisted Living: Secrets to Success
Change is hard on everyone, especially when it comes to moving. This is particularly true when the senior in your life to has to move from their home into assisted living. Though there is a great benefit to making the switch, adjusting to the change is different for everyone. Helping your loved one move can be difficult for everyone involved, however, there are a few things that can help you and your loved ones cope.
Why Moving to Assisted Living Can Be Difficult
Moving into an assisted living facility can be difficult for a number of reasons:
- The need to downsize, most often from a full home into a small apartment
- The forced new routine, such as adjusting to different sleeping or eating schedules
- They may resent having to live with people who are frail, even though they themselves may also be frail
- They may have feelings of abandonment or betrayal
- They may be frustrated by the perceived loss of independence
Even though some seniors may have trouble making the adjustment, many will be just fine after a couple of weeks. Others may even suggest it as an option for themselves.
How to Help Your Loved One Adjust
The transition can go a lot easier for everyone if you keep these tips in mind:
Make several visits before moving in.
Visiting frequently can help your loved one get to know other residents and staff members while seeing what options are available to them before the move takes place. If they have a chance to get comfortable with everything beforehand, it won’t feel so foreign to them when they do move in.
Make the area as much like home as possible.
Let them have as much of their home as possible. Hang pictures the same way they were in the house and use familiar bedding. If your loved one kept a book and their glasses on their nightstand, do the same thing in the new apartment. These little touches will help your loved one adjust while seeing that you care.
Allow them to maintain some independence.
Visit often during the first few days, but try not to hover. Avoid trying to hold their hand, as this could prevent your loved one from adjusting accordingly. The independence they have left is important to them, let them keep as much of it as possible. Though frequent visits may help reduce your own anxiety, doing so may also facilitate a sense of dependence or maladjustment.
Encourage your loved one to participate in activities.
Check out the activities available in the facility, there’s probably at least one they’re interested in. This will help make friends and keep them from feeling too isolated. Make sure to choose a facility that offers amenities that appeal to your loved one’s interests. Many offer libraries, gyms, pools, outings, and classes that are designed to entertain, rehabilitate, and uplift residents.
Overall, it is important to recognize that you’re making the best decision when choosing to move into an assisted living facility. Loved ones frequently feel guilt, sadness, or regret during this process so it is important to remember what is most important. This process is often stressful regardless of how willing your loved one is but, when handled correctly, it can be the choice that improves the lives of everyone.
About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.