Transitioning from home ownership to life in senior housing can be difficult for aging parents. Whether your loved one is moving into a senior community or an assisted living center, these steps can help you ease into this new phase in life.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
In any situation, moving into new surroundings can be stressful. Recognizing the potential that your parent is experiencing anxiety as a part of the transition can lead to greater understanding for what your loved one is experiencing, and help them get used to their new environment quicker. By acknowledging their anxious feelings and focusing on the benefits of the move, you can help them feel more optimistic about their future in senior housing.
Talk It Out
Likely, you will also be feeling at least some slight anxiety yourself. Concerns about your parent adjusting to their new environment are to be expected, but discussing them and bringing any fears or anxieties to light can help diminish everyone’s uneasiness. Having a member of the nursing or housing staff with you during this conversation is a great way to get questions answered and make everyone feel more comfortable.
Explore Your New Environment
One of the best ways to overcome a parent’s anxieties toward senior housing is to help them become familiar with their new home. Common areas are a great place to meet new neighbors and find out what amenities are available. Take advantage of on-site services like hair salons, computer areas, libraries, and fitness facilities. The best assisted living facilities also offer activities programming, such as exercise, arts and crafts, and even pet therapy. Getting involved is a great way for your relative to meet new people and stay stimulated!
Develop a Support Network
One of the greatest indicators of successfully transitioning to senior living is the resident’s ability to meet new people. During the first week, or ideally before, go with your parent to introduce yourselves to caregivers and immediate neighbors. A few familiar faces – and names to go with them – can go a long way toward making them feel at home in their new residence. This is also a good time to provide your contact information to staff members and even new acquaintances. Employees at the senior housing facility will appreciate knowing family members are open to any concerns they may have about a new resident.
You and your loved ones may feel some discomfort right now, but this option was chosen because senior housing makes sense at this stage of your parent’s life. Although partial loss of independence can be upsetting, it’s also important to realize that many hazards and difficulties have now been removed. The setting may be new, but it’s also safer and provides a built-in peer group. With cleaning services, tasty prepared meals, scheduled transportation and other services available, low-maintenance living is now a reality. After years of working hard and caring for others, your mom or dad deserves a chance to take it easy and enjoy life.
For more information on what to expect, contact our friendly staff at The Plaza Assisted Living.