If it’s time for your aging loved one to move to an assisted living community, they may be in the midst of dealing with difficult emotions. Change is seldom easy, but for older adults, leaving behind a beloved home, coping with their need for support and stepping outside of their comfort zone can cause sadness and anxiety.
Luckily, there are many ways you can help your loved one adjust to assisted living and make them feel more at home. According to Carmen Duren, Executive Director at Provident Village at Canton in Canton, GA, “Family members are extremely important to helping their loved ones adjust to assisted living. It’s tough for many seniors to go through such a drastic change so late in life. Families can play a pivotal role in turning their loved one’s assisted living accommodations into a comfortable, happy new home.”
Moving Toward Supportive Care
According to experts in the senior living field, families can be most helpful to their loved one’s adjustment to assisted living before, during and right after the move. The National Center for Assisted Living and eldercare consultant Carol Bradley Bursack, author of “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home,” suggest several things you can do during the moving process to ease the transition and help your loved one feel comfortable.
Here are steps you can take to help your loved one feel at home in their new community. At their core, these ideas help support and encourage your loved one and to ease their anxieties about moving.
- Change Perspectives – Although you might be glad that your loved one is moving to a community where they’ll receive the support and social involvement they need to thrive, your loved one is leaving behind a huge part of their past. Try to imagine this move from your loved one’s point of view, along with all the difficult emotions it entails.
- Promote Positivity – Your attitude towards the move can greatly influence your loved one to look forward to the good things their new home will offer. Find the balance between acknowledging their anxieties and encouraging excitement. Once they’ve moved in, start referring to their community as “home.” This action is subtle, but it can make a big difference on how you both perceive their new residence.
- Decorate for Comfort – Your loved one’s assisted living suite can feel more like home if you decorate the space to match their tastes and style. Display familiar objects from their previous home, such as favorite paintings, books and keepsakes, pillows or blankets. Many communities allow residents to bring their own pieces of furniture as well. Perhaps your loved one has a favorite armchair. Moving it into their new suite could provide an added comfort.
- Offer Storage Space – Your loved one most likely has to downsize to move into an assisted living suite. This process is often emotionally – and physically – strenuous. If your loved one had trouble discarding things they couldn’t bring with them to their new home, help ease their burden by offering to store some things in your house, if you can. This way, your loved one can switch out seasonal items, redecorate later on and avoid the heartache of leaving cherished items behind.
- Be Present Throughout the Move – Show your loved one that you are there for them throughout this transition. If they ask for help, assist them in packing or changing their address, and be there for the big move itself. Try not to take control of the situation (allow your loved one the freedom to arrange their room the way they want), but be available to help at any time. To help them adjust, stay for dinner on move-in day, and visit regularly in the weeks afterward.
- Encourage Socializing – Stay up-to-date with your loved one’s community and encourage them to get involved in special interest groups or attend events they might enjoy. Offer to go with them to a social gathering if they don’t want to go alone. Don’t be too pushy or criticize their decisions about social engagement, but show your support for helping them find their place in the community.
- Be Patient – The most important thing is to be patient as your loved one adjusts to their new home. Feeling reclusive or disheartened right after a big move is normal, and these feelings usually go away with a bit of time. The best thing you can do is show constant support as your loved one gets used to their new home.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s adjustment, ask the staff or director at their assisted living community for advice. They witness all kinds of reactions from new residents, and they can offer invaluable and specific advice from their experiences.
Welcome Home to Vibrant Living
From a new resident’s first day at Provident Village at Canton, an experienced care team works hard to make them feel right at home. “We’re dedicated to the individual,” says Duren. “We offer a variety of floorplans and service options to give residents the freedom to find optimal comfort, their way. Our team does everything we can to help assisted living residents feel at home from the very start.
“Our goal is to help our residents live vibrantly, acquiring total physical, mental and emotional wellness. This mission is integrated into every part of our community, from social activities to dining options and everything in between. We make sure our residents have every resource for self-expression and engagement through programs and activities. Giving our residents the freedom for self-direction, while providing exciting options, helps them adjust to their new lifestyle and enjoy vibrant days.”
Live Vibrantly! at Provident Village at Canton
At Provident Village at Canton, 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.