No matter our age, change is hard. Even changes for the better often create emotional difficulties. For those moving into an Assisted Living community, the transition may cause feelings of anxiety, nostalgia, bitterness or isolation as they adjust to their new home. If this sounds like your loved one as they make the transition to Assisted Living, you can play a major role in helping them feel at home in their new surroundings.
Elaine Austin, Executive Director at Provident Village at Creekside, explains how integral family members are to their loved ones’ adjustment to Assisted Living: “Many residents feel uneasy when they leave their homes and routine lifestyles. It’s hard to change so much after a lifetime of comfort and familiarity. At Provident Village at Creekside, we’re thankful for the families who encourage our new residents through this adjustment, assuring them that some things, like their love and relationships, won’t change with their new address.”
Making the Move with Care
Helping your loved one feel at home boils down to support, encouragement and easing their anxieties about moving. Many experts claim that family members can be most helpful before, during and directly after the moving process. The National Center for Assisted Living and eldercare consultant/author Carol Bradley Bursack’s article “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home” offer advice in this area.
Here are some of the experts’ ideas of what you can do to make your loved one feel more at home:
- Shift Perspectives – While you may be relieved that your loved one is moving to a place where they’ll have the assistance and social support they need, your loved one is leaving a large part of their past life behind. Try to imagine this change from their point of view, and understand the difficult emotions this move entails.
- Spread Positivity – Find the balance between sympathetic support and encouraging excitement. Your attitude towards the move can influence your loved one to look forward to the good things their new home will offer. Once they’ve moved in, start referring to their community as “home.” This subtle action can make a big difference on how you both perceive their new residence.
- Decorate with Meaning – Help your loved one make their assisted living suite feel like home by decorating it to reflect their style and tastes. Display familiar items from their old house, such as a favorite painting, throw pillows and blankets, books or small keepsakes. Many assisted living communities encourage residents to bring their own pieces of furniture as well. If your loved one has a favorite armchair, bringing it with them could provide added comfort.
- Offer Storage Space – Downsizing can be a difficult process. Your loved one may have trouble discarding beloved items that they can’t move into their new home. To help ease this burden, offer to store some things in your house, if you can. This way, your loved one can switch out seasonal items or redecorate later on and avoid the heartache of leaving cherished items behind.
- Be Present – Before, During and After the Move – Show your loved one that you are there for them, emotionally and physically, throughout this transition. If they ask for help, assist them in packing or changing their address, and be there for the move itself. Try not to take control of the situation, though (allow your loved one the freedom to arrange their room how they wish), but be available to help at any point. To help them adjust, stay for dinner on move-in day, and visit regularly in the weeks to follow.
- Encourage Socialization – Stay connected with your loved one’s new community and encourage them to get involved in groups or attend events that might interest them. You can even offer to go with them to a social gathering. Don’t be pushy or criticize their choices, but support them in finding their niche in the community.
- Be Patient – Most importantly, be patient as your loved one adjusts to their new home. Feeling reclusive or disheartened is normal right after a big move, and these feelings usually pass quickly. The best thing you can do is show constant support as your loved one gets used to this new chapter.
Don’t hesitate to ask the staff or director at your loved one’s assisted living community for advice as well. They have witnessed their residents’ adjustment periods time and time again, and they can offer invaluable – and specific – advice from a first-hand perspective.
Creating Vibrant Days from the Very Start
At Provident Village at Creekside, each member of the care team works hard to make new assisted living residents feel at home from the day they arrive. Austin states, “We know that comfort isn’t found in a one-size-fits-all approach. Our variety of suite plans and services reflects the complexity and uniqueness of the individual. We always encourage new residents to bring their own furniture and personal items to make their suite feel like home from the start.
“Our engaging lifestyle makes it easy for assisted living residents to discover new joy every day. Programs, special events and clubs give our residents countless avenues for self-expression, entertainment and inclusion, and help new residents adjust to our lifestyle with ease. Provident Village at Creekside is committed to helping residents live vibrant days, and this attracts older adults with a lust for life. We are proud to ensure our new residents and their families that they’re joining a community of vibrant neighbors.”
Live Vibrantly! at Provident Village at Creekside
At Provident Village at Creekside, we believe vibrant days ensure bright tomorrows, so we’ve created a community where seniors, quite simply, Live Vibrantly! Whether it’s in our Assisted Living Community or Memory Care Neighborhood, each day we celebrate the individuality and strengths of each resident.
At Provident Village, to Live Vibrantly! means that days are filled with joy, vitality, growth and security. It means residents are socially active and personally empowered, with access to the personalized care and support they need to live fully. It means residing in a community where intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical care are seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
Our compassionate Care Partners dedicate each day to enriching the lives of our residents. They customize the level of attention and activities to each resident’s specific needs and abilities. Our living environments are warm and inviting, with comfortable furnishings, beautiful fixtures and natural elements that bring the outdoors inside.