Adjusting to Assisted Living - Ways to Help Loved Ones Make Huge Life Change
Construction is starting for senior living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes all the time these days. Moving to a long-term care facility doesn't have to be stressful for your parents. Help them adjust.
Construction starts for assisted living facilities in the United States have risen pretty sharply since the easing of the COVID-19 virus crisis. Longevity creates a massive demand for long-term health care facilities and other senior living worldwide.
In the U.S., the demand for assisted living facilities and other senior living is expected to grow throughout the decade. Over the next 20 years, the Late-Boomers and Generation X continue to age and see a decline in their health. A rapid acceleration of new construction for these facilities is expected to meet the demands of the aging population.
Today there are more than 835,000 Americans currently residing in assisted living facilities. Your Mom or Dad may be one of them sooner or later.
Leaving Home is Emotionally Challenging
Giving up their complete independence is difficult for most seniors. Moving after perhaps living in their home for decades is emotionally hard for most people. How do you help your parent make this life transition?
There are several ways to help your parent adjust to assisted living. What you'll want to do is to find a quiet moment and try to talk to them about their concerns and preferences. Make sure to document the details of their wishes.
You can also engage the services of a professional mediator to help you and your loved one work out the details of their new situation. Take a look at some of the best ways to help your parents prepare and adjust to the upcoming change.
People require help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia due to illnesses, accidents, or the frailty of aging. As people need help, they usually start with in-home care providers. However, not every home is age and disability friendly. An assisted living facility may be more appropriate for the overall safety and well-being of your loved one.
Plus, some people need more social interaction. Assisted living facilities can provide that setting. Others need more assistance, and an assisted living facility offers quality care as they need it 24 hours a day.
Tour Potential Facilities
Taking a tour of an assisted living facility can be a great way to ease your senior parent's transition to this type of living environment. Be sure to look for amenities and a community culture that suits your aging parent's needs.
It can also be helpful to observe residents during activities to better understand the community and how they interact. You can also inquire about the available menu options to see if the community suits your senior parent's taste.
Make sure to visit the facility with your parents in advance.
After the first tour, give your senior parent a second one to see if the community is comfortable with their needs and lifestyle. The staff should be attentive and helpful, which will help your parents cope with sadness after moving to the facility. If your senior parent is interested in social activities, try to attend one or two of the facility's events. The other residents will give you an idea of what they enjoy. This way, they can feel at home in their new home.
Give Your Loved One a Sense of Control
One of the best ways to give your senior parent a sense of control when they move into assisted living is to discuss it with them. This will minimize tension or disagreements as long as you are on the same page. Getting them to feel comfortable discussing the idea may take a few months or longer. This is why it's essential to show them that you understand their needs and will help them make decisions in the best way possible.
Before your aging parent moves into assisted living, spend time with the community. Get to know the staff and residents living there. Be sure to ask questions and discuss all details. When moving into a new environment, your senior parent will feel a sense of loss. Providing some sense of control will help ease their transition. If they have strong feelings about the transition, try giving them some choices before moving.
Make sure they understand that moving to assisted living will give them a better quality of life, ensure they receive quality care as needed, and still maintain independence. Assisted living is not a nursing home, and few people want to live in a nursing home. However, that is what many older people feel. There is a significant distinction between assisted living and a nursing home. Many seniors enjoy the community and independence that assisted living offers them.
Decorate the Room with Favorite Photos, Pillows, and Books
Seniors often want to see their favorite things around them. They can use decorative items to make them feel comfortable in their new environment. For example, they might want to display souvenirs, awards, or favorite musical instruments. The goal is to create a home-like environment for your senior parent and make them feel at home. If they don't want to give up their comforters, try using neutral colors.
Your parent will want to have a say when making life-changing decisions.
A comfortable chair is a must in the living room. If possible, use a lift chair to make getting into and out of the chair easy. A good nightstand will hold books, magazines, a phone, and other items. A chest of drawers or dressers should be near the bed so your parent can reach it easily. A table with an alarm clock and tissues can be placed on one end.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Family can easily be as depressed about the challenges their parent is facing as they get older. Often a daughter or daughter-in-law is a full or part-time caregiver before deciding on assisted living.
Even if professional in-home care providers are being used for your Mom or Dad, the adult children still face many responsibilities in ensuring their parent is provided with the proper care. Plus, it is emotionally challenging as well.
Maintaining a positive attitude about the aging process and the need to make a change is essential. As your loved one transitions to assisted living, it can be difficult watching your parent adjust to a new environment.
It is crucial for you to be patient and understand that the transition process will take some time for them. The transition is also hard on the rest of the family.
Assisted living facilities offer many benefits to their residents, in addition to helping with daily living activities. Many amenities are provided by today's assisted living facilities. Social activities are vital to an assisted living community as they host many activities and community service events.
During the transition period, your senior parent may feel overwhelmed by the change. Your parent will probably have difficulty parting with their belongings, so try to choose their favorite ones and pack for the move.
You should also protect your property when moving to an assisted living facility. Remember that your parent will need time to process what has happened and may require convincing.
Keep a positive attitude and you should be able to easily help your senior parent adjust to assisted living.
The best way to approach helping a loved one move into assisted living is to have a positive attitude and present a unified, positive front. Remember that some people may need a little convincing since the transition can be frightening.
If you are not prepared for this situation, there are many things you can do to help your parent adjust to assisted living.
Tips for Relocating
Since families live apart more often today compared to past generations, families may want to love their Mom or Dad closer to their home. Adjusting to assisted living can be more challenging if they need to move across the country.
Once you find a suitable facility, you will still have to assist them with the moving process. In most cases, senior parents tend to get into disagreements about the moving day, but there is a good reason for this.
Overcoming the change and not feeling like they have control over the situation is hard on them. The best thing you can do if moving your elderly parents across the state is to be there during the process. You can organize the moving day; contact moving companies and help your parent pack their belongings.
No matter how big of a change your senior parent is experiencing, they will need your help when moving to a care facility. What's important is to let them feel like they have a say in making important decisions, stay positive, and have a lot of patience. After all, your parent will need some time to adjust to assisted living, so they'll need all the support they can get. Only you can help your senior parent adjust to assisted living.
This LTC NEWS guide can help you can you start the process of finding an assisted living facility for a loved one - Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities | LTC News.
About the Author
Jane Stinson is a relocation specialist who has worked with many seniors over the years. Having seen how hard some of them have taken it, she has decided to start blogging about helping seniors, and younger generations, move to their new homes. Jane aims to make the whole experience more comfortable. In her free time, she enjoys reading and gardening.
Contributor since March 26th, 2021
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