While transitioning your elderly loved one into an assisted living facility is certainly a big step, it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. By taking the time to find the right place, prepare your loved one for the move, and help him or her get settled after moving, you can ensure that the transition into assisted living is seamless for everyone involved.
In this post, our assisted living professionals at St. Paul’s Senior Services have put together a guide on how to transition into an assisted living community stress-free. Below, you’ll find advice and recommendations from our experts on every step of the transition into assisted living — from searching for an assisted living community to settling in after the move and everything in between. Read on to learn more, and reach out to our San Diego, CA assisted living community here at St, Paul’s today!
Finding the Right Assisted Living Community
Before beginning any sort of move, it’s important to do your research and decide on the best assisted living memory care community possible for your loved one. Finding the right place is a process that will require significant outreach on your part to help get a clear idea of the amenities and services offered at each, as well as what life is like for the residents. In the preliminary stages of research, it’s a good idea to visit the website of each prospective assisted living community on your list to see if they offer the type of care your loved one needs. For instance, if your loved has dementia at any stage, memory care facility is a must. If your loved one has more specific needs, we recommend giving each community a call to speak with the staff and learn how they can personally accommodate your loved one.
After completing initial research and outreach, it’s vital to tour each of your top prospective assisted living communities. Above all other forms of research, taking a tour will give you and your loved one a chance to experience life firsthand at each assisted living community. (It will also give you ample time to familiarize your loved one with his or her new surroundings, which will go a long way in easing the transition for whichever assisted living community you choose.) On your tour, don’t be shy to ask your tour guide questions. This will give you a better idea of some of the subtler aspects of life at a given community, and will also give you insight into the staff that works there.
Keep an eye out for things that seem out of place or inhospitable when taking your tour. Does the staff seem unhappy, or overly eager to “sell” you on the facility? Are the outdoor grounds poorly maintained? Do the indoor areas seem dated or unclean? Most importantly, observe the residents and your own loved one’s reaction to the community. Do they seem unhappy or overly subdued? Happy and healthy residents are the single most important piece of proof that an assisted living community is doing a good job. (Your own loved one’s initial reaction to an assisted living home is important, too, but bear in mind that this can change over time.) Beyond that, use your discretion and choose a home with well-maintained facilities, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and a large list of amenities and services to accommodate the needs of your loved one.
Familiarization: Before the Move To Assisted Living
A little familiarization can go a long way in easing the transition into assisted living for your loved one. As mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to familiarize your loved one with an assisted living community is to take him or her on tours with you. Many communities will also allow you to schedule visitations where you can bring your loved one in for a more personalized appointment. During these visits, have your loved one interact with the staff, eat a meal, and experience the grounds and amenities as much as possible. Helping your loved one take in his or her new surroundings as much as possible before moving will help make the move that much smoother.
Organizing and Downsizing
For many seniors, moving into an assisted living community can be a daunting proposition simply because of the property they’re leaving behind. Every day stresses such as personal belongings, home responsibilities, and other loose ends can act like anchors that keep seniors (and their families) from making the move to assisted living. By making a concerted effort to organize and downsize with your loved one, you will help ease the some of the stresses associated with moving.
Transitioning into Assisted Living
Take time to go through your loved one’s belongings with him or her, and, if you can, offer to store some of them in self-storage or in your own home. Make a list of the things your loved one wants to complete, and try to finish them well before scheduling a move. With enough organization and downsizing, both you and your loved will feel much more ready to make the move into an assisted living community.
Familiarization: During and After the Move
No matter who you are, moving to a new place can feel somewhat uncomfortable. Even if you absolutely love your new quarters and community, it may take some time for your new house or apartment to really feel like a home. Seniors moving into assisted living are no exception to this rule. Help your senior loved one feel at home in his or her new assisted living community by making an effort to organize his or her living quarters in a way that’s both familiar and comfortable. Bring old furniture along with you, and keep room layouts the same as they were in your loved one’s old home as much as possible. Try to visit whenever you can, and encourage your loved to get involved with the community’s planned activities. Involvement in assisted living activities will make your loved one feel happy and part of a larger community. Scheduled activities and outings may also ease any feelings of homesickness or unfamiliarity. Come out and enjoy the activities with your loved one — you’ll find that there’s a lot of fun to be had and memories to be made.
Learn More About Transitioning into Assisted Living
Interested in learning more about how you can make the transition into assisted living as seamless and stress-free as possible for yourself and your loved one? Our staff here at St. Paul’s Senior Services would love to speak with you. Explore our website to learn more about our San Diego, CA senior assisted living communities, and reach out to us at (619) 239-6900 today!