When older adults move into an assisted living community, families are often surprised at the rapid improvement in their overall quality of life. As people age, it’s not uncommon for many basic tasks to become more challenging, and the assistance and support they receive at an assisted living community can make all the difference.
Yet, even if your parents are looking forward to an easier life filled with advantages, they may still be hesitant about the move and wondering whether they’ll feel at home in their new community. Although any move requires time to adjust, there are many steps you can take to help them settle in.
Helping Your Parents Feel at Home in Assisted Living
The following five suggestions may help your parents enjoy all the benefits of their new home and start feeling comfortable, sooner:
- Support your parents in choosing the best community and residence
Unless it’s not possible, your parents should make the choice about which community and specific residence will be their new home. Offer your support and help. Research the possibilities and provide them the information they’ll need to make an informed decision. Older adults who aren’t an active part of this process often find it more difficult to adjust.
Visit a few communities together and talk ahead of time about the features that are most important. If possible, meet some of the residents and staff. Look at different floor plans and options, including views, activities and amenities. Talk about how they could decorate their new home.
- Encourage them to have the right mindset
Once the decision has been made to move into an assisted living community, encourage your parents to shift their mindset towards the future and remain positive. Help them remember the advantages of their new lifestyle and try to tie a particular benefit of community life to a challenge they’re currently experiencing. For example, if cooking has become difficult, talk about the ease of simply going to the dining room and ordering from a menu.
Your parents may be sad about leaving their home and will need time to adjust. While a positive mindset is helpful, it’s also important to let them express their feelings. Be a good listener and encourage them to talk about any concerns they have. Then, help them look forward to their new home and life by addressing those concerns.
- Bring personal items and favorites from home
For most people, downsizing will be a part of the moving process. Talk with your parents and help them to decide what to take along with them. Do they have a favorite reading chair, sofa or coffee table? Request a copy of the floor plan from the community and cut furniture shapes to scale. Play around with different arrangements to see what works best.
Once they move, help your parents decorate and personalize their home. Talk about ideas to create a special feeling of welcome for their front door. Decide what furniture would be the best fit or if they’d like to makeover their bedroom. They likely won’t be able to bring everything, but there is always room for framed photos, artwork and a cozy comforter.
- Assure them you’ll visit and remain involved
Many older adults fear they’ll see less of their family once they move into an assisted living community. If your parent has expressed this or you fear they may be concerned, reassure them by spending extra time together to help them transition through the process.
Let them know that this is their home, and you and other family members will visit just as you did before. You might remind them how grateful you are not to have to worry about their safety and that you’re so happy they now have the care and support they need and deserve.
Some communities advise to limit visits early on so your parents will begin meeting the other residents and not rely only on you for company. However, only you and your parents know what is best for your family, so remember to consider their wishes and try to find the right balance.
- Encourage them to become active members of the community
Even if you’re able to visit regularly and often, try to encourage your parents to become active in their new community as soon as they get settled. They may be tempted to stay in their residence rather than interacting with others, but as they become more comfortable, encourage them to participate in an activity or attend a social event that interests them.
If it would be helpful, you may want to join them regularly for lunch or dinner and foster conversations with the other residents. Or join them in an activity to encourage them in getting to know their new neighbors. Community staff can help their residents to become involved in daily life, so talk to them for ideas or ask if they could encourage your parents to join in.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.