How To Ease The Transition To Assisted Living

May 17, 2016

Young woman with her senior aged mother

Moving an elderly loved one into a senior living facility can be a difficult experience for everyone involved, your loved ones especially. Many seniors see the move as a loss of their independence and are unable to imagine the benefits of their new home. Others are overwhelmed by the move itself, and, for them, selecting which treasures to leave behind is just too painful. Leaving a long-time community can also be very stressful, and the possibility of losing touch with friends only adds to the anxiety. 

It’s important to remember that while you may understand the benefits of moving your loved one into a care facility, they may feel like they are losing their sense of freedom. That’s why it’s important to be supportive and to help them adjust to the transition.

In this informative blog, follow along as we discuss how to make the transition from home to assisted living as smooth as possible. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from how to select the right facility and how to prepare your loved one, to how to help them before, throughout, and after the move.

Find the Right Assisted Living Facility 

The first step to transitioning a loved one to an assisted living facility is finding one that’s right for them. This involves two steps: researching your local facility options and considering your loved one’s needs. 

Before deciding on an assisted living facility, it is important to research your options. You should look for a facility that can provide the necessary care, has the right location and amenities, and is within your budget. You can start by asking your family and friends for recommendations, or you can research online and read reviews from other families. When touring facilities, always ask questions to get a feel for the environment and make sure the facility can meet your loved one’s specific needs.

Once you’ve done your research, you can then begin comparing your options, while taking your loved one’s needs into account. Is your loved one mobile, or do they need more assistance? Are there certain activities or amenities that your loved one enjoys? Do they need special care for any health conditions? It’s important to take into account the individual needs and preferences of your loved one to ensure that they’ll be comfortable in their new home. Additionally, you should also make sure that the facility can provide the necessary medical care, as well as other amenities.

Once you’ve done your research and considered your loved one's needs, you can then make a decision on which assisted living facility is right for them. Just be sure to keep their individual needs in mind, and, possibly, include them in the decision-making process. 

Decide What To Keep

Once you’ve decided on an assisted living facility to transition to, the next step is deciding what to keep and what not to. This can be a daunting task as you (or they) may want to keep everything, but there may not be enough space for all of your loved one’s possessions. 

It’s important to prioritize and choose the items that are most important to them. Consider their favorite items, such as photos, books, and furniture, and make sure to bring those to their new home. You should also think about practical items such as a refrigerator, microwave, and other small appliances. It may also be helpful to make a list of the items that your loved one needs and wants to bring with them. This will help you stay organized and ensure that all of the important items make the move.

Note: Choosing what to take can be a daunting task. Some facilities provide a few things while others give you a clean slate, so ask what's available before deciding what to leave behind. This can help you avoid bringing unnecessary items, which will make the transition smoother. 

Decide What To Leave Behind

The other side of deciding what to keep is deciding what to leave behind. This too, can be a difficult experience for many, as your elderly loved ones may be deeply attached to their possessions, so their preferences should direct the sorting and disposal of them. 

Valuable items such as jewelry and art are part of the estate and should be managed as such, going into secure storage or passed to a beneficiary. Friends may want individual items that carry emotional value. For items that are neither financially nor emotionally valuable, often sharing these assets with the less fortunate can give your loved one comfort knowing they will be appreciated. 

Just remember that separating from a lifetime of treasured possessions is hard, so take the time your senior needs to make the process as gentle as possible.

Create A Sense of Home

Once your elderly loved one has moved into their new home, it is important to help them create “a sense of home.” That’s because while space may have everything they need, it may not feel like “home” until they have the items that make it feel cozy and familiar. By allowing them to bring some of their favorite possessions and decorating their living space with as many personal items as possible, you can help them feel comfortable and at ease. 

Pro tip: Even visual reminders of their “happy life” can provide reassurance that a new place is still home. Something as simple as a beloved quilt or a photograph of a loved one can provide comfort when they wake up in an unfamiliar room.

Make Meeting People Easier 

One often overlooked step in transitioning a loved one to a senior care facility is making it easy for them to make new connections in their new home. You can do this by introducing them to the staff and residents, and even encouraging them to attend social events and other social activities. This can help your elderly loved one make new friends and start to feel more at home in their new environment.

You can also consider helping your elderly loved one get involved in activities. Participating in activities can provide them with a sense of purpose and help them feel connected to the community. Many assisted living facilities offer activities such as art classes, exercise classes, and other events, so encourage your loved one to explore the available activities and find something that they enjoy.

How to Work Through A Successful Transition

A big part of easing the transition to assisted living involves understanding your loved one’s feelings and being supportive of them at every step of the process. Moving somewhere new can be a difficult and emotional experience for anyone, so it’s important to be patient and listen to their concerns. Let them know that you’re there for them and that you understand their worries and fears. You can also talk to them about the positive aspects of the move and help them to focus on the new opportunities that they will be able to explore.

Making the transition to assisted living doesn’t have to be difficult. By being understanding and supportive, helping your elderly loved one find the right facility and encouraging them to make new connections and explore activities, you can make the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Consider Heritage Creek Assisted Living in San Antonio, Texas

Are you looking for assisted living facilities in San Antonio for your loved one?

Heritage Creek is a luxury assisted living facility in San Antonio, Texas, that strives to make all our residents (and their family members) feel right at home. And, with a 1 to 8 staff-to-resident ratio during the day, and nurse access 24/7, we can ensure your loved one receives the highest quality of care!

We understand that transitioning your loved one to an assisted living facility can be difficult, and are here to provide support and guidance throughout the entire process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can ensure a smooth and seamless transition for your loved one.

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