How to Ease a Parent’s Transition into Senior Living

Moving a parent, even if they are happy and willing to go, into a retirement community or senior living facility can be a very emotional time. Your parent might be going through a mourning period for the loss of their youth, worrying about their future independence, or reluctant to leave the home that they have made for themselves. They might be facing fears about getting older, the prospect of meeting new people or settling into a new home. If you are worried about making the transition and how both you and your parent will cope, here are some of the main things that you can do to make it easier.

Give it Time:

Any transition will take some time, and experts suggest that it could take between three and six months for somebody to fully get used to being in an assisted living facility. This will, of course, vary between individuals and it might take less or more time for your parent to fully settle in. If your parent is struggling to adjust, the best thing that you can do is be there for them and remember the reasons why you made the decision and how it will benefit them in the long run. A good assisted living Chicago facility such as Belmont Village will have strategies in place to help new residents adjust with ease into their new life.

Visit Often:

Being surrounded by people that they know and love might make it easier for somebody to adjust to new living arrangements in an assisted living facility. You know your parent best, so you can make an informed decision on how often to visit in order to assist them best throughout the early weeks after making the move. Most experts suggest that you visit as often as you can to help ease any stress that your parent might be experiencing surrounding being lonely or abandoned. On the other hand, if your parent is calling you several times a day and seems to be relying on you a lot for company, it might be best to give them some space for a week or two to encourage them to branch out and make new friends in their new home.

Be Ready for Setbacks:

It is not uncommon for people who are moving into an assisted living facility to experience some setbacks. You might think that everything is going smoothly and your parent is settling in just fine, only for them to tell you that they are lonely or decide that they don’t like their new friends. They might start asking to go home. Just remember that as heart-breaking as these moments are, they are usually a common part of the adjustment process and it will pass with time.

Work Together:

It can often take a village to care for and support an elderly parent who is moving into an assisted living facility. Just as parenting can often involve asking for help from friends and other family members, so will looking after your elderly parent during this life change. Make sure that you have people on hand who can visit them if you are unable to at any time, and work together with your family members to ensure that they never have to feel alone or unsupported. The more people who are available for your parent to reach out to, the better.

Prepare for the Difficult Parts:

Moving to an assisted living facility can often be the best decision for an elderly parent who is experiencing physical or mental health problems and is struggling to cope at home. While there are several factors that are very positive about making the move, it’s important that you acknowledge and prepare for the difficult parts too. Be sure to listen to any concerns or fears that your parent might have. Although many assisted living facilities have a lot of great factors including activities, support, and new people to meet, it’s quite normal for people to have some concerns and worries when making the move.

Take Personal Belongings:

Your parent will feel more at home in their new apartment at an assisted living facility if they are surrounded by things that are familiar and comfortable to them. Since it usually means downsizing and a lot of the furniture and items from home may no longer fit, you can still fill their new home up with familiar items like photos of family and friends, their favorite books, artwork that they love, and familiar blankets and pillows. Having as many home comforts as possible will help them settle in faster and feel more at home in their new place.

Advocate For Your Parent:

You know your parent best, and no retirement community is going to be completely perfect. You may see some opportunities for improvement or changes that could be made to help your parent settle in better. Your parent might hesitate to speak up about what they need when they are moving to a new place, so make it your job to do it for them and make sure that they are getting the best experience and support in their new home.

Limit New Things:

Since your parent is moving to a new home, it can be tempting to fill it with the latest and best new things for them. However, this can often do more harm than good since your parent is already adjusting to a lot of new things in their life. Avoid getting them a fancy new TV or a new coffee machine to learn how to use until they have settled in completely and are beginning to enjoy life in their new home at the assisted living community. Too many new things all at once could cause your parent to become overwhelmed and highly anxious, which can slow down adjustment and make it harder for them to feel at home and settle in.

Moving your parent to an assisted living facility can be a sad decision, but you know that it is in their best interest. Keep these tips in mind to reduce hiccups and help them adjust.

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