5 Tips to Help Seniors Adjust to Assisted Living
When people have long resided independently, in their own homes, making the move to an assisted living community can be incredibly intimidating. For both seniors and their loved ones, it’s often one of the biggest changes to conquer in a lifetime. While the anxiety that accompanies it will never be eliminated, we’re pleased to say there are some helpful steps you can take to improve the process for all parties involved.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of top tips for easing the transition to senior living, as shared by Cardinal Bay’s residents and their families and caregivers.
Step One: Support Your Loved One Emotionally
Some older adults face this next chapter with great optimism, recognizing it for the fabulous opportunity it is to relish their golden years with the richest. They look forward to the chance to meet and interact with interesting people, to discover and rediscover interests, and, especially, to enjoy a freeing peace of mind. But for others, leaving their home is truly difficult, frustrating, and even frightening, and it requires a complete change of mindset.
Regardless of your loved one’s outlook, you can be instrumental in ensuring a successful experience. Help the senior prepare to move into an assisted living community by communicating thoughtfully, simply being patient – and understanding the fact that everyone has a different timeline for adjusting to new surroundings and new routines.
You must commit to staying involved in meaningful ways, whether while choosing the perfect senior living community, getting through those tricky first few months of the transition, or continuing to guarantee they thrive years later.
The Best Ways You Can Ease the Transition into Assisted Living
We’ve said it once before, but it bears repeating: Communication with your loved one is key! Equip your loved one with his or her own telephone and trusty address book. Emailing more their speed? Set them up with a computer and Internet connection, too. Encourage them to reach out and maintain a strong social network, and ask family members and friends to do the same with them. Of course, you should also take the lead in this regard. Schedule your calls for each day or for set, expected days and times of the week, and remember to follow through. If you need to, set a reminder for yourself.
2-Uphold the usual patterns.
Our habits impart a sense of security, and for a new senior living resident, departing from them can cause uneasiness. Instead reassure your loved one, make it easy to follow old routines, and engage in beloved hobbies. For instance, if Dad kicks off each morning with his time-honored ritual – the local newspaper in one hand and a steaming mug of coffee in the other – enables him to preserve it. Arrange for daily delivery of the newspaper to his new address, and keep his favorite brew flowing in steady supply. If he’s a grilling or card-playing kind of guy, make sure his assisted living community can accommodate his style of fun.
3-Send gifts to show your love and support.
Every so often, order or ship a special delivery. It’s a meaningful gesture that shows your loved one you’re thinking about them. With the magic of online shopping at your fingertips, you can effortlessly surprise them with just about anything they’d adore.
Of course, there’s the ever-treasured flowery bouquet and evergreen plant baskets. But they’d also be overjoyed to receive edible gifts shareable with friends. Choose from sweet treats (fruit, cake, muffins, cookies, candy), savory snacks (meat, cheese, crackers), and deliveries straight from their go-to joints or restaurants from across the country. Snap up the latest book from their favorite author, or share some self-care (bath and spa items, tea, slippers) and fun “toys” (games, puzzles). Or, create a new family album for the proud recipient, so they can reminisce and brag amongst their neighbors.
4-Visit as often as you can.
Nothing demonstrates you care more than just being there. Visit one-on-one, with a friend, or with the entire family. Lounge around the dining table or in the courtyard. Join in a community activity. No matter how it’s enjoyed, spending time together yields the undeniable benefits of face-to-face contact – and it’s the best way to help maintain your loved one’s health and happiness. Not only will it contribute to their overall wellness, but you’ll get a chance to chat about their experiences, monitor their progress, ensure they’re forming gratifying relationships, and acquaint yourself with their caregivers and neighbors.
5-Keep links to familiar surroundings strong.
Trying to adapt to a new environment, like a senior living community, can sometimes make an individual feel as if he or she is a “fish out of water,” or that a sense of independence is slipping away, along with any semblance of familiarity. That’s why you should oblige requests or extend an offer to visit old haunts, whenever feasible. If mom asks to drive by the old house and through the old neighborhood, or dad hints that he misses haircuts from his preferred barber shop, taking your loved one to see these places and the familiar people inhabiting them can truly go a long way.
At Cardinal Bay, our expert team will guide you in every aspect of moving a loved one into senior living, to ensure the most seamless transition possible. Come explore our resort-style independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities in Texas and Oklahoma. In a spirited, relationship-centered environment, our residents stay active and engaged, enjoying a wealth of stimulating activities and daily social