Moving to a retirement home is rarely easy, but there are ways to make the transition as smooth as possible. Read on to learn about those tricks.
The transition of moving to a retirement home or assisted living facility is difficult for most seniors. Considering that they’ve spent all their lives in their own homes, suddenly moving to an unfamiliar place where there are a lot of other people can be daunting, and oftentimes, stressful.
The negative emotions that can come with moving to a senior living facility are an unnecessary burden on our elderly loved ones. That said, here are some ways on how you can make your parents’ transition to a retirement home a lot easier for them and everyone else involved:
- Involve them in the search
We all want the best for our parents, but sometimes, we forget to include them in the decisions when it comes to choosing the right retirement home. Unless they are no longer of sound mind, involve them in the search for the facility they will be living in for the rest of their days. Although most of the searching will fall upon your shoulders, it will feel better for them to be engaged in the process. Ask for their opinions and preferences whenever possible. After all, they will be the ones to live in that facility for the rest of their lives.
It’s also a good idea to take them with you when touring potential facilities as long as their health allows. Doing this will help both you and your parent get a good feel of what the facility is like, particularly how they treat residents and the quality of life that they can offer. Furthermore, you can see what meals they offer and what the facilities look like in real life compared to the brochures.
- Make their room as familiar as possible
One of the hardest parts about moving to a retirement home is suddenly uprooting from the house you’ve lived in for years or even decades. Most seniors have difficulty transitioning to a senior living facility because it feels so unfamiliar, which can also trigger feelings of sadness and isolation.
To help ease this burden, it’s a good idea to decorate your parent’s room to make it as close to their old room as possible. Bring their old sheets, curtains, picture frames, furniture, and other things that can remind them of their old home. Unless your parent wants a fresh start (which some seniors do want), doing this will help make their transition much more manageable.
- Be present
Another major concern that seniors have is feeling isolated when they move to a senior living facility. The best way to avoid this is by being present during and after the transition period, if only for one day a week. Remember that this is a difficult transition for them, so no matter how busy you are, make time to visit so that they know they haven’t been ‘abandoned.’
It also helps to have other family members visit so that your parent will have a loved one to talk to at least a few days each week. You can set up a schedule wherein you take turns for visitation to help establish a routine for your mom or dad, which can help them thrive in their new environment.
- Encourage them to be involved
Many seniors find it easier to transition to an unfamiliar place when they are involved in what’s going on there. Encourage your parents to eat their meals in the dining hall, socialize with other residents, and participate in group activities. Involvement can help seniors feel like themselves again while getting settled into a completely new environment. Moreover, it helps them make new friends, which is incredibly important for the quality of life as an aging individual.
- Help them keep in touch with old contacts
Apart from making new friends, keeping in touch with old ones is a vital part of transitioning to a senior living facility. Help your parents stay in contact with loved ones, friends, neighbors, and whoever else that were close to them from the outside world. The easiest way to do this is to teach them how to use a device if they don’t know how to use one already.
Set up easy messaging and video conferencing apps that they can use to talk to family members and loved ones whenever they please. Aside from helping them maintain old relationships, this is also a great way to help ease feelings of loneliness in the first few weeks of moving in.
More often than not, transitioning to a senior home is a challenging experience. These strategies can help ease that transition and prepare them for a new life in an unfamiliar environment, while also helping you adjust to a life with parents living in a senior home.