Tips That Help Seniors Adjust to Assisted Living Communities
Change is stressful at any age. Transitioning to the next phase of life is difficult for all of us.
Moving to an assisted living community in advanced age, while often the best decision to preserve quality of life and reengage with the world, can pose challenges to seniors and to their concerned families. Take heart. There are practical ways to walk through and past these challenges, to quicken a sense of comfort and ease in a new residential setting. Here are a few of those strategies to make the transition easier:
- Give it time – As lovely as a senior living community may be, in all likeliness your loved one isn’t going to instantly adjust to this new environment. Again, that’s only natural. Senior living experts say it takes an average of 3 to 6 months for a new resident to settle in. Keep this in mind as you gently reassure your beloved senior of the sound reasons behind the decision: to be safe and secure, to enjoy a new social setting, to be surrounded by engagement options, to receive the extra help they may need.
- Make it familiar – Being able to relax in a favorite chair, see treasured keepsakes and photos, or sip morning coffee out of a beloved mug, all these creature comforts can make new surroundings feel familiar and appealing all the sooner.
- Don’t “over visit” – While it may be tempting to drop by for a visit every day early on, you might want to give your elder a little time to explore the new space, meet neighbors, and establish a personal routine.
- Maintain traditions – Many things change when someone moves to assisted living, but a lot of things don’t have to. If your family typically have a phone chat on Tuesday mornings, continue to connect on that day. If you typically host holiday dinners and you live near the assisted living community, certainly continue to invite your parent to your home on those days or find some other way to bring the festivities to him or her. Most assisted living communities have spaces to accommodate family gatherings where you can bring your own food and fun.
- Listen to their concerns – Although you may want to focus on the positives of moving to assisted living, make room for honest and candid conversations as a family. Listen carefully to your elder’s concerns to help you both address them and mitigate them, lest the discontent may grow. Most people can accept that life isn’t perfect if they feel their thoughts on the matter are being heard.
- Create a team – When it comes to assisted living, your family is not alone in this life change. Enlist the help of the community’s staff. Building a relationship with team members can help make sure your senior’s special needs are being met—whether it’s extra encouragement to be social or a preference to spend time alone. Helping seniors adjust to assisted living communities means taking into consideration what makes them feel comfortable, safe, and happy.
About MorningStar Senior Living
An integrated developer, owner and operator of premier retirement communities, MorningStar’s portfolio encompasses over 40 properties under operation or development representing 5,000+ units under management or in development in twelve states in the Midwest and Western United States. Offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, MorningStar is privileged to elevate life for those who taught the rest of us how to live. For more information, visit MorningStarSeniorLiving.com.