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Thought Leader Series: Easing the Transition to Assisted Living

Growing up is exciting. Starting a family is incredible. Having grandchildren is a blessing. But getting older when you need help can be difficult. It can especially be hard when a family member needs to move to an assisted living or other care facility. It is a difficult conversation to have and a complicated move to make.

Easing the Transition to Assisted Living

1. Get Help

Moving a loved one to an assisted living facility takes much planning and work. Ask for help from other family members and friends. Downsizing an entire home can be overwhelming, but when family comes to help, it's easier and much more personal than hiring movers.

Encourage friends and family to visit often before and after the move. This time can be emotionally difficult for you and your parent. If either of you feels sad, anxious, or depressed about the move, don't hesitate to reach out for help from a counselor or loved ones.

2. Visit Before

Before the final move takes place, be sure to go with your parent to the facility. Visit often so you both can learn the facility, meet new people, and become familiar with the schedule. Become acquainted with the staff and get assurance that your parent will be well taken care of. Make visits routinely to help you adjust to visiting your parents at their new residence.

3. Make Informed Decisions

Part of the difficulty of moving to an assisted living facility is the idea that a parent is losing independence. Be sure to include them in every decision regarding their ongoing care. Research the facilities together and get feedback.

Look online, ask current residents, and talk with staff about the facility to get their opinions. Talk about and agree on the location, keeping in mind travel time, nearby stores, and visitation rules and schedules. Draw up a blueprint of the room they will be living in. Use cut-outs to represent furniture and “decorate.” It also helps you know what to include when downsizing for the move.

4. Personalize

Moving to a new place is difficult for anyone. A way to make the move easier is to make it as much like home as possible. Be sure your parent is involved in downsizing. Let them reminisce while packing their keepsakes. It's a great coping skill to help with the change. Recreate their bedroom just like it was. Pictures, lamps, furniture should resemble home or close to it. Include favorite books or candles to make it feel and smell homey.

5. Get Involved

While visiting the facility, find activities that will be available for your parent. Encourage them to be as involved as they can be. To help your transition, try to attend as many family-inclusive activities as possible. Help them make friends at the facility, and remind them of past interests. To help occupy both your minds and establish a bond, start something together: work on a puzzle, take an online course together, or start a workout routine or book club. It establishes a comfortable routine.

Admitting that we need help is difficult. For older people, it can be difficult to give up some independence. It is important to make the transition as easy as possible while remembering the difficult time you both may have. Making it comfortable, communicating, and trying to keep it as normal as possible will help in the transition.

For answers to other questions about senior care, check out our caregiving guide.

Lorena Brockman is a blogger for JennsBlahBlahBlog.com and has notable know-how in blogging, travel, fashion, and has been deemed “Greatest Auntie Ever” by many. To learn more about Lorena, visit her company's blog at JennsBlahBlahBlog.com.

25 Comments

  1. Another very important aspect of care to consider in assisted living is to make sure that your loved ones varying degree of memory and dementia issues are paired with others at a similar stage. You want to make sure that people with advanced dementia are not paired with those we have mild cognitive loss and really need a combination of memory care and assisted living. This is key to their happiness and settling in after leaving their home. Some facilities offer cognitive therapy in addition to care to help stimulate memory in people with early stage issues. Good care, a proper ratio of caregivers for the population, activities and memory stimulation should be examined.
  2. I think you’re right that it’s good to visit a facility before choosing your parent’s resting home. I will have to do that as my parents begin to grow older. Thanks for the advice.
  3. My grandma is thinking about moving to an assisted living center but she is hesitant because she does not know what to expect. You make a great point that we should take my granda to visit different potential facilities. This way she can meet the staff and other residents and see if she likes the environment. Plus, this will give her a chance to see if she likes the schedule and activities that are offered at the assisted living home.
  4. This is some really good information about assisted living transitions. My grandmother is currently looking for an assisted living facility to move to. So, I liked that you pointed out that it would be smart for her to visit the places, and see if she likes the schedule of the facility.
  5. I like how you mentioned that it’s okay to reach out to a counselor when you’re moving your loved one to an assisted care facility. My grandmother has dementia, so we’ve been wondering how to move her to a care facility. These tips will really help us, so thank you for sharing them.
  6. My wife and I are very busy with our work and barely have enough time to spend with our kids. As much as I wouldn’t want to take my mom to a nursing home, we have to. I like your idea of visiting the place with her a few times to ease her to the idea. Perhaps get the family together to decorate her room and to hire one of the nurses to stay with us for a while to let her get used to having other people take care of her. I really want to make sure that my mom gets the best care she deserves especially late in her life. Thanks for the great tips!
  7. I really like how you give the advice of going to visit the living facility with your parent before taking them to live there. My dad passed away a few year ago and my mom’s starting to get old enough that she needs more help than what my brothers, sisters and I can provide for her so I think we’ll take her to a nursing home soon. I’m going to be sure to take her to look around and meet the people that will be helping her before we start to move her in.
  8. I like your tip to visit beforehand with your parent to help make the transition easier. It might be a good idea to even stay and eat a meal together. Another good idea is to decorate your loved one’s room with reminders of home.
  9. It makes sense to visit the assisted living facility beforehand. My grandparents have gotten to be very sick and they require a lot of care. I definitely think that I should find a facility that could help them to feel comfortable and could promote socializing.
  10. I agree that you would want to visit an assisted living facility before you choose it. It would seem that you would want to find a facility that is nice and has a friendly staff and visiting it seems like the best way to decide this. I’m looking for an assisted living home for my mom so we’ll have to visit it together before we decide on one.
  11. That’s a great tip you give about making sure to encourage your loved one to be as involved with others and the activities as possible. I’ve heard that keeping involved in activities and maintaining a social life is the key to a long, healthy life. I’ll be sure to keep this great information in mind as we help my mother make the transition from her home to an assisted living home.
  12. I like that you recommend to have your parent get involved in the activities when living at an assisted living center. I can see why this would help them feel more comfortable there. You might even consider going with them or having them take their grandchildren. That way they feel like they are helping someone out at the same time.
  13. Thanks for the great tips on taking seniors to an assisted living facility. I definitely agree that we are going to need some help when my mom is moved. She will appreciate as much support from friends and family as she can get.
  14. Visiting before hand does seem like a good thing to do. My grandmother will probably need to go to an assisted living home soon. However, she doesn’t do well will change. Getting her familiar with a place before she moves in would be smart.
  15. Going from living at home to an assisted living facility can be hard. My dad is getting to that age, but he is adamant against it. I like the idea of taking him to potential facilities to show him around and gauge his interest. I am sure he would be more comfortable moving in if he has been there before.
  16. I really like your tip about personalizing the area because that will make the transition easier by making it seem as much like home as possible. My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so we are thinking about getting her into assisted living within the next few months. I will have to keep these tips in mind so that we can help her with all that will come with the transition.
  17. I love that idea of taking your parent to the assisted living facility ahead of time to get a feel for the the place. Brochures, recommendations, and websites are helpful. However, nothing beats checking out something in person.
  18. I love your suggestion to make the room as much like home as possible. It would really help them to feel more comfortable if the room was set up to look like their old room. Then they could easily know where everything is and have something familiar to come back to while they’re at the facility!
  19. I agree that when looking for assisted living for your parents it is always good to learn about any activities the facility provides. I would want to have my parents enjoy the time there and feel free to have fun. I can see how a place that has a boring feeling to it would lead your parents to be depressed and get home sick.
  20. I agree that visiting an assisted living facility before you move in can help you determine if it will me a good place for you. I can see how visiting the facilities beforehand can help you understand how it works and what it can offer you as well as making sure they will take good care of you. I will make sure to do my homework as well as making sure I visit the facility before I make up my mind on one. Thank you for the tips.
  21. I really like your fourth tip “personalize” because the more than a place feels like home, the easier the transition is. My husband and I have been thinking about talking with my mom about assisted senior living and we know that it won’t be an easy decision for her to make. I think that these tips will really help us to help her to see that it is the best option for her right now, thanks for the advice.
  22. I completely agree that it is important to personalize the space that your loved one moves into when moving into an assisted living center. My grandfather recently lived in an assisted living center for a time to recover from a surgery, they brought a lot of personal items like his favorite recliner and plenty of family pictures to hang on the wall. Are there assisted living centers that don’t allow you to personalize the space, is it common to limit that?
  23. My grandmother is getting really old and we want her to go to an assisted living home. She is worried about not having an easy transition to being there. It seems like us being involved with her transition will help her the most.
  24. My grandma can’t take care of herself anymore and the family is trying to ease her into an assisted living situation. Thanks for the advice about visiting the facility with your loved one beforehand. Hopefully, we can find a place that my grandma will like and that does activities that she’ll want to do.
  25. Thanks for sharing this. I especially liked your point about personalizing the living environment for your senior. Having familiar furniture, decorations, or belongings arranged similarly to how they were at home could go a long way toward making the room much more comfortable for them.

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