10 Tips for Transitioning to Assisted Living
Your parents most likely worked for many years to provide a good life for themselves and for you. Now the work is done, retirement has probably been relaxing and refreshing, and your parents may have even resumed hobbies they had to stop for a time due to the demanding 9-to-5 life.
As time progressed, however, you may have noticed your folks aren’t getting out of bed as they should be, maybe some medications are being forgotten or the simple task of showering has turned into an uphill battle. These are signs that maybe it’s time to make the move to assisted living.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is best described as a community designed for seniors who need help with the tasks associated with daily living – like dressing, grooming and medication management. No one resident is the same, so different levels of assistance may exist to ensure each resident receives the help they need.
The benefits of assisted living are plentiful, but the greatest benefit is residents are still able to maintain their independence and freedom. They’re free to enjoy hobbies, chat with friends and partake in exciting community activities. Another prime benefit is the stresses of bills, housekeeping and outdoor maintenance associated with living alone no longer exist. Assisted living communities are maintenance-free and most have one fixed fee.
Other benefits include personalized care, hands-on assistance from caring professionals, daily activities to keep residents engaged and peace of mind knowing your loved one is safe and receiving the care they deserve.
Making the move to assisted living can be a complex and overwhelming experience for all parties involved, so to make the move as smooth as possible, having a moving in checklist can help ease the overall process.
Assisted Living Checklist
Discuss in Detail
Because transitioning to assisted living can be daunting for a loved one who’s leaving a home they cherish and embarking on a new adventure, communication is key. Your loved one may feel as if they’re losing control or even their independence, so discussing every detail of the process with them can help to diminish any anxiety or fear they may have.
Empower Your Loved One
Encourage your loved one to be involved in the decision-making process. Let them decide on which assisted living community they want to call home. They can also help choose which belongings are coming with them and what they can’t live without – then choose which day they move in.
You may think including your loved one in all moving issues is common sense – of course my loved one will make these decisions – but you’d be surprised how hard it can be to remember to include them, especially if they’re not vocal about their desires or concerns and you are on a timeline.
Research Costs and Payment Options
Many seniors are on a fixed income, so doing proper research into how expensive assisted living care is and how to pay for it are paramount.
According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living amounted to $4,300 per month in 2020. Of course, different factors affect this number, like the state you live in, the level of care you require, etc. For more information on the average assisted living cost per state, check out Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey.
Make Multiple Visits to Your Chosen Assisted Living Community
Your goal is to make the move to assisted living as positive as possible for your loved one. Seniors sometimes have the mindset that they are leaving a home they love and that’s their predominant thought about it. Instead, try to shift their perceptions of assisted living to embrace the positive experiences of it – to think of it as embarking on a new adventure with new opportunities.
Visit your chosen community several times. Met the staff and residents, walk the halls, get all your questions answered and allow the community to start to feel like home. This approach to visiting frequently over time will foster feelings of acceptance as opposed to visiting only once and then moving in, causing your loved one feelings of loneliness and seclusion.
Help Ease the Assisted Living Transition
When move-in day rolls around, make it an occasion. Spend the day decorating their new apartment, join any on-site community activities that might be scheduled that day, try out the community amenities with your loved one and indulge in dinner together.
Show them that you’re as much a part of their life now as you were when they were living by themselves. Share with them that their golden years are still very much golden and that their independence will remain intact.
Encourage Your Loved One to Decorate Like Home
Your loved one’s new assisted living apartment is not a hotel room. Decorate the walls with favorite photos, display personal artwork and various other cherished items. Make the accomodations feel like home.
If their new residence reflects a sense of home, it will soon feel like home.
Begin the Downsizing Process
Moving a loved one into an assisted living community will require paring down belongings, knick-knacks and furniture. It’s valuable to get an early start on the downsizing process by organizing what you want to take with you when you move and making plans for selling or donating items you won’t be taking. Early planning and action can help streamline potential challenges that could arrive along the transitioning journey.
Call in the Professionals
If the moving process is too overwhelming or you don’t have the time you need to properly get everything in order, enlisting the services of a geriatric care manager could be just the help you need.
They can assist in the application process, determine the level of assisted living care your loved one will need and lend a hand in the overall assisted living transition.
Make Arrangements with Your Primary Care Physician
There are many reasons your loved one’s primary care physician should be notified of any major life changes, such as a move to an assisted living community:
- Prior to moving in, a physical should be performed by your primary care physician.
- There may be paperwork your primary care physician needs to sign.
- An updated list of medications may be required, along with instructions on how to take them.
- Your assisted living community may be in an area where attending your usual physician simply isn’t convenient or even possible, so getting a referral for a new physician might be necessary.
Allow Time to Process Emotions
Don’t underestimate the power of emotion. Transitioning to assisted living is a major life change for your loved one and the family in general. Although the move to assisted living can be a positive experience, there may still be some negative connotations, such as suffering a loss.
Your loved one is losing their home, and that feeling must be processed. Moving to a different place with new people will involve feelings that will also need to be processed. Taking time to acknowledge and work through the various emotions that come with moving is essential to overall acceptance of a new and exciting endeavor.
How Bridle Brook Can Help
There are so many options available to you when it comes to finding the right care for your loved one. Bridle Brook offers assisted living along with memory care enhanced by compassionate professionals dedicated to assisting residents when they need it while also honoring their independence.
At Bridle Brook, residents live the life they desire on their own terms. If you would like to schedule a private tour or learn more about what we offer, contact us today. We’d love to meet you.