You’ve lived a robust life; you’ve been independent. But now you’re at a point in life when you need a little help. You need some assistance with living. So, you’re thinking of making a transition to assisted living, to a comfortable and affordable facility that will suit your needs and desires. But you’re a little nervous. You’re not sure how to do it. And you’re not sure where to go. This scenario may apply to a parent, a relative, or a friend. And you want to help.
Here are five tips to get you moving and to ease the transition for yourself or for a love one:1
Ask for help from other family members and friends. Cleaning out and selling a house can be exhausting. When others pitch in, the work becomes more manageable and less costly. When you hire movers, costs rise and personal items that spark cherished memories can get lost in the shuffle. Urge family members and friends to visit frequently during the transition, which can be an emotionally trying time for everyone involved. If you notice signs of depression or anxiety, seek counselling from professionals, ministers, or trusted family or friends.
You have to check out the places first. Do the research about the different facilities in your area and see if you can visit them. Is this a place you or your parents will feel comfortable in? Ask a lot of questions. Meet the staff at the facility. Get assurances that you or your parents (or loved ones) will be well cared for. Learn about the visiting hours. That way you can monitor and keep your family informed, about the facility and operations.
One of the most challenging and potentially stressful parts about transitioning to an assisted living facility is the sense of losing your independence. Making educated and informed decisions becomes particularly important at this phase. You or your parents, if you’re managing the arrangements, should be closely and equally involved in the process. That way you’re able to address concerns, calm emotions, and provide assurances. Prior to signing the final papers, make sure you do the appropriate research. Explore, explore, explore! Look at reviews. Talk to staff and residents about the facility. For family members, make sure the facility is within relatively close proximity to your homes. It should also be close to stores and medical offices, if necessary. Draw up blueprints of your or your parents’ rooms. Imagine how the room will be furnished and decorated. Room diagrams will help you to gain a better understanding of what you need to keep and what you should discard from your house during the moving process.
Moving to an assisted living facility just might be the greatest move you or your parents will make. The facility may provide all the benefits of home and more. But it’s still a transition. It’s still moving away from home. That’s one of the reasons why parents (or you, if you’re managing your transition) should remain intimately involved in the process. Go ahead. During packing, reminisce about old items, furniture, or keepsake. It may be bitter-sweet and time-consuming, but the process fosters a greater ability to cope with the change. You may opt for recreating the look of bedrooms or other areas of your house at the assisted living facility. Furnish the room appropriately, to produce a kind of homesweet-home look, like it was back in the day. Take along pictures, lamps, books, candles, or other items to create that special feel. Try to incorporate all the senses: sight, sound, smell. You’re going after that personal touch.
Once you or your parents are moved in, get active. Get engaged. What’s there to do? What activities are available? And if you have a loved one in an assisted living facility, visit, visit, and visit some more. If you could find activities at the facility which include family participation, that’s even better. If you’re a resident, make friends. If you helped your parents make the transition, see if you can connect them with others to make friends. Residents of assisted living facilities can become fast friends with each other after discovering shared interests, past accomplishments, or other reference points from their past. You can form friendships by working on puzzles together, attending online courses, participating in exercise programs, or getting involved in book or reading clubs.
The transition to an assisted living facility can be stressful and heart wrenching, but with a thorough and thoughtful strategy, you can create a very productive and easy experience. Tread gently and carefully for some happy living ahead.