Helping Your Parent Adjust to Assisted Living


With people over the age of 65 making up a large and ever-growing part of the US population (the number was nearly 45 million people in 2013), many Americans are looking for ways to help their aging parents. In many cases, the best option for aging parents is for them to move to an assisted-living facility, where they will receive medical assistance and supervision while still getting to enjoy recreational and social opportunities. If your parent or parents will soon be moving into an assisted-living facility, here are five ideas for helping them adapt more easily to their new home:

1. Find Ways to Keep Up Routines and Traditions

It can be tough to adapt to assisted living after a lifetime of independent living. To help ease the transition, look for ways you can help your parent keep up with their favorite routines and traditions. Perhaps this means keeping them supplied with their favorite hot chocolate or hot tea to drink before bed, making sure their magazines get delivered to their new address, or ensuring that they have a ride to their favorite hair salon once a month for a style.

The key is to reassure your parent that not everything about their life has to change and provide them with a sense of continuity.

2. Plan to Visit Regularly

A common fear of those entering an assisted-living facility is that their family and friends will forget all about them. To counteract this fear, establish a plan for visiting them as often as geography and your schedule will allow, particularly during the first few months when they are still adapting to their new environment. Encourage siblings, other family members, and friends of your parents to visit often as well and share visiting information with them. When you visit, keep an upbeat attitude and discuss fun plans and possible outings with your parent.

3. Help Them to Downsize

For many people, one especially challenging aspect of transitioning from their own home to assisted living is that they are moving to a much smaller space and cannot bring all of their belongings. You can help eliminate the stress of downsizing by offering to help.

Encourage your parent to sell or donate items they no longer want or won't be able to use in the assisted-living facility. If they want to hold onto certain items they won't have room for (like valuables, heirlooms, and sentimental objects), you might want to offer to store the items at your own home or in a storage facility to ease their mind.

4. Bring Aspects of Home

Your parent may feel a strong sense of attachment to their home and be sad to give it up. For this reason, it's a good idea to help them bring items from home that will provide them with comfort, make their space more beautiful, and help them to individualize their room or apartment. Framed photos of family members, their favorite painting, and their beloved comfy blanket and pillows are all great ideas.

5. Focus on Communication

The best thing you can do to make the transition to assisted living easier is to focus on communication. Ask your parent if there is anything they are worried about and what you can do to help them. Be sure to listen and provide them with empathy. Make sure they know how to use their phone (and email, if they have it) at their assisted-living facility and that they have everyone's contact information. Make an effort to check in on them often before, during, and after the move.

By following these tips, your parent will find their adjustment to assisted living much easier, and so will you. To find an establishment, contact representatives at centers like Grace Assisted Living.


26 April 2016

Helping Your Parent Adjust to Assisted Living

My husband and I recently moved his mother to an assisted living facility. My name is Audrey Martin, and I am going to share our experience with you. My mother-in-law is eighty-two years old. She has been living on her own for twelve years since her husband passed away. My husband, David, is her only child. That left us in charge of making this decision for her since she has declined to the point of not being able to make sound decisions on her own. I’m not going to tell you that it’s been easy, but I will say that it can be done. I hope that what I’m about to share proves to be helpful to you should the time come that you are the one moving a loved one to an assisted living facility. Thanks for stopping by!