With any major change in lifestyle, the transition from one way of life to the next is seldom easy. For those transitioning from their home to an assisted living community, this change may be exceptionally difficult. Fortunately, there are several steps a family can take to help ease their loved one through this transition.
“When adjusting to an assisted living lifestyle, seniors often rely on their family members for support,” says Elaine Austin, Executive Director of Provident Village at Creekside in Smyrna, GA. “Families can do so much to help make the transition easier for their loved ones, and often the steps are simple. We encourage the families of our residents to stay connected with our community so they can fulfill their role in making their loved ones comfortable and happy in their new home.”
Making the Move with Ease
Remember that your loved one may be feeling any variety of stress, anxiety, nervousness, bitterness or vulnerability as they make the move to assisted living. Acting with encouragement, support and patience can help ease your loved one’s transition by showing them you care.
According to the article “8 Ways to Help Mom Transition to Assisted Living” by Marguerite Manteau-Rao, LCSW, ATR, CEO and founder of Presence Care Project, sometimes the simplest actions can mean the most to our loved one when they’re adjusting to their new lifestyle. As your loved one goes through this transition, it’s important to keep these five steps in mind:
- Make It Feel like Home – Try to make your loved one’s new assisted living suite as comfortable and homelike as possible before they move in. Many communities encourage new residents to bring pieces of their own furniture and décor that hold meaning for them. Decorate their room with familiar objects from their prior home, such as their favorite painting, curtains and comforter.
Keep their new home well stocked with their favorite books, music, movies and snacks. If your loved one enjoys a particular magazine or newspaper, arrange for their subscription to be sent to their community. Allowing them to continue enjoying their comfortable habits and routines makes the transition to assisted living much smoother.
- Don’t Make Them Move Alone – Be present for your loved one at each step of their moving process. Offer to help them downsize and pack belongings that they will take with them, along with those to be discarded at donation centers. Be there the day of the move to help them get situated in their new environment and address any questions or concerns they may have about their suite (how to adjust the temperature, for example).
Stay with your loved one throughout the day. Help them unpack, learn the locations of various rooms in the community and share a meal with them. This way, they can transition into their new home in the company of those they know and love.
- Help the Staff Get to Know Your Loved One – Inform the staff and caregivers who will be working with your loved one of their likes, dislikes, routines, interests, etc. Depending on their attitude about the move, your loved one may be hesitant to open up about such things, so your effort could help them make a personal connection sooner. We all have a desire to be known, and your loved one is likely to feel more at ease when those caring for them know who they are on a personal level.
At Provident Village at Creekside, the staff are excited to learn as much as they can about the residents. They find out their life stories, hobbies and personalities and use that knowledge to provide individualized care. New programs are created based on residents’ interests, and assistance and care are delivered by friends rather than detached professionals.
- Encourage Them to Get Involved – Talk to your loved one’s community director to learn what kinds of activities are available. If your loved one enjoyed planting flowers, encourage them to get involved in the community garden. If they are an avid reader, purchase the next few books to be discussed in the community’s Book Club. Offer to attend some activities with them if they prefer.
Be careful not to smother or pressure your loved one into doing things they don’t want to. Gently encouraging your loved one to get involved in their new community will help them transition to assisted living by socializing with neighbors and making new friends.
- Stay Connected – While you should give your loved one the independence to adjust to their community on their own, it’s also important to stay connected to show you haven’t abandoned them. Visit frequently, call to check in and send little gifts to let them know you’re thinking about them.
When you can’t be around, stay connected with the staff as well to keep up-to-date on your loved one’s health and to ensure they are transitioning well to their new home.
As with any transition, the move to assisted living may take some time for your loved one to adjust completely. According to AgingCare.com’s article, “Helping Elderly Parents Transition to Assisted Living,” it could even take up to three months for a loved one to feel comfortable. In the meantime, you can help make the time easier by showing love and support however you can.
Creating Vibrant Days Through Personalized Care
“At Provident Village at Creekside,” Austin states, “we understand the difficulty in transitioning to a new community. That’s why we do everything to ensure our residents enjoy vibrant days full of joy, comfort and purpose. We know that vibrant living comes about by maintaining physical, spiritual and mental well-being. Our assisted living residents experience every resource we provide to live their lives to the fullest.
“From personalized attention and care to individualized life-enrichment programs, residents are engaged and cared for by compassionate professionals. We also help families stay involved through our state-of-the-art SMILE™ technology, a communication platform that allows families, residents and staff to connect long-distance when need be. Every happy moment, each vibrant memory can be shared in real time, even when you can’t be with your loved one in person. SMILE™ technology is just one of the ways Provident Village helps residents and their families thrive.”
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.