Moving into assisted living can be a very exciting – and also a very stressful - time for seniors. Just as with any major life change, preparation is key to mitigate stress. Taking the time to properly prepare a parent for assisted living can make a massive difference on the ease of their transition and overall happiness with the move.
The most important keys to prepare your parent for assisted living
Although there are any number of ways you can prepare a parent for assisted living, these are some of the most essentials you should be sure to prioritize:
1. Involve your parent in decisions regarding assisted living
Although the level of care may be different for your parent than for another senior in the assisted living community, a move into assisted living does come with some emotional weight. After all, it can be difficult for a parent to need extra help. Your parent may feel helpless or like they have no say in the changes that are occurring.
That’s why it’s critical to involve your parent in as much or as many of the details and decisions as possible. From choosing an assisted living community to deciding on a move-in date and prioritizing which personal effects make the move, follow your parent’s lead as often as possible.
2. Address any concerns up front
Sometimes seniors are concerned about a loss of freedom, less socialization, and other “unknowns” that can seemingly accompany a move into an assisted living community. Throughout the research and decision-making process, be sure to talk to your parent about any concerns they may have – in fact, you might want to proactively address the concerns mentioned above.
Sometimes, parents are embarrassed to have concerns, and they may avoid trying to talk to you about them. If you think that your parent would be more receptive, you can also involve a representative from their new assisted living community in this part of the process.
3. Give your parent a realistic look at life in an assisted living community
Making a major life transformation is a big deal! And as we mentioned previously, there are often many “unknowns” for seniors who are making the move into assisted living. Although taking tours is helpful, and reading brochures can give a great idea of what amenities and activities are offered by a prospective assisted living community, shadowing a resident can also be very helpful.
If it’s possible, try to schedule time for your parent to shadow a resident at their preferred assisted living community. If a full-day shadow isn’t possible, aim for a nice meeting and perhaps a meal and resident-perspective tour of the community. “Living” at the assisted living community together with an actual resident may allay any fears and put any worries or concerns to rest.
4. Give your parent space to get ready
Although you may be feeling pressure to help your parent get everything set and ready as soon as possible, try to build in enough time so that your loved one can get ready at his or her own pace. This is especially important when considering possessions. If your parent is living in a house at the moment, it can be particularly daunting to pare down belongings to the amount that will come along to the assisted living community.
Parting with old belongings and potentially family heirlooms can be extremely emotional. If your parent asks for help, of course be there to lend a hand. But if your parent needs space, be willing to give enough space to allow for all the emotions that inherently come with this type of move.
We can help you prepare your parent for a move to our assisted living community.
Here at Winnwood Retirement Community, we offer resort-style retirement with assisted living care, provided with dignity and compassion. From fine dining to world-class amenities and activities, we’ll provide a nurturing, supportive environment for your loved one. To learn more about life at Winnwood, contact us to schedule a tour.