Moving is one of the top 5 most stressful things a person can go through, let alone moving a senior parent into a new assisted living community.
Sometimes, this process can be difficult to process. Leaving a home full of memories is hugely emotional, downsizing a lifetime of possessions is a massive feat, and losing a sense of familiarity at home (even just temporarily) can feel scary.
Helping your parent adjust to their new home may not always be easy, but it is possible. You can help them feel comfortable in their new home. The transition phase will eventually pass and your parent will start to feel more at home in their new community.
Is Assisted Living Right for My Parent?
While assisted living is a great option for many people over the age of 65, your parent may benefit from other strategies to keep them at home as long as possible.
Professional in-home care or a medical alert system can be sufficient for some seniors to stay at home safely. However, if your parent often needs an extra hand with certain daily activities or is a fall risk, it may be time to look into assisted living. This can help give you and your family peace of mind.
9% of adults who are 75 to 84 years old require assistance with day-to-day activities. This number grows to 21% for people over 85 years of age. Assisted living is designed to support older adults live their best life, and it may be the right choice if your loved one if:
- They need help bathing or dressing
- Their mobility is limited
- They forget their medication more frequently
- They want more socialization
- They’re often bored
- They need help with daily chores
- They need help preparing healthy meals
- Their health (or your health) is suffering
Tips to Give Your Parent a Gentle Nudge
Start a Conversation
Many older adults resist moving into assisted living communities because they feel as though they’re losing control over their lives. Approach a conversation about assisted living with an open mind. Don’t come to your parent as though you’ve already made a decision.
Try to plant the seed before there’s a need. This can help outline the benefits of assisted living without making your parent feel forced into something they don’t want. You can start by simply mentioning options that could make life easier, safer, and more enjoyable for them.
Research assisted living communities that would work for your parent. Offer to take them on some tours so they can see the place first hand. Don’t force them to tour a community. Try to be patient.
Use Teachable Moments
If your parent has an accident, it could be a good opportunity to reopen the conversation about assisted living. Perhaps your parent had a fall and didn’t get badly hurt or they forgot something in the oven that triggered a fire alarm.
You could start a conversation with them acknowledging how lucky they are to not be hurt and how to prevent these things from happening in the future. Follow your instincts on the best time to bring it up.
It can be helpful to provide options that are positively reviewed. It can be especially helpful to consider communities where your parent may know someone.
Getting referrals from residents you don’t know (or do know, ideally) can help your parent come around to the idea of moving into an assisted living community.
Time to Process
Give your parent time to process the information you’ve given them. It’s a huge decision to move, and they’ll likely need some time to let it all sink in. Remind them that you’ll be there to support them and try to get as many family members as you can to show their support.
Be patient and do your best to make your parent feel like they’re in control of their life and decision.
Ready to Move Into Assisted Living
When your parent is ready to move into their assisted living community, there are a few steps you can take to make the move as easy as possible.
1. Plan Ahead
Set out a plan from the start of the move to the end. While everything may not go according to your plan, having that framework keeps everyone (and everything) organized. Along with a set schedule, things to consider include:
- Moving out & moving in dates
- Touring communities
- Booking storage facility deadline
- Sorting & packing belongings
- Canceling existing bills
You may want to prepare a list of emergency numbers and medications for your parent to take with them to their new home. It’s helpful to designate one family member to be the main point of contact for your parent’s new community.
2. Find Storage
If your parent has a lot of possessions they don’t want to part with, but don’t have room for, we highly recommend finding a storage facility to rent. The moving process is already quite stressful, so the added stress of having to give up a lot of the things they own might be too much to handle.
Renting a space for your parent to store their extra belongings is a great temporary or permanent solution. As they adjust to their new home, they may come around to the idea of sorting through what they have to either give to their children, donate or sell, or throw out.
3. Tour the Community
When your parent is ready, take a tour of the communities you’re selecting from so they can see it first hand. If your parent is moving to a different city, it can be helpful to take a tour of the city, too.
Tours can help you and your parent figure out what you do and don’t like in a community so you can feel confident when you both make a final decision.
On your tours, feel free to talk to members of the staff so you can both get a feel for the people your parent will be with every day. You want to like them, of course!
4. Schedule Activities
Get a copy of the monthly schedule for your parent’s community. Together, choose activities that they’re interested in. This is a great way to socialize with other residents and get involved in the community.
It can be helpful to set up a schedule that is similar to your parent’s previous daily schedule. At Regency Senior Living, we offer a variety of activities, such as:
- Daily games & puzzles, such as BINGO
- Arts & crafts, such as painting
- Fitness classes, such as yoga
- Shows, documentaries, & movies
- Clubs, such as walking club
- Special events
5. Maintain Open Communication
The most important thing to remember during this transition period is to maintain open communication with your parent. Despite any frustrations or worries, you are both doing what you think is best for your parent. Talk to each other honestly and openly so your parent can have the best move-in possible.
Learn More About Assisted Living
If you and your parent are considering, or ready for, a move to assisted living, contact our team to learn about how we can support you.