A decision to move to assisted living care raises many questions. You or your loved one may ask, “Is help really needed?”; “Will it be easy to make friends?”; or “Can loved ones and friends still stay close to one another?” The answer to these common questions is the same: “Yes!”
Whether you are a new resident or a loved one seeking more information, there are many ways to help make the transition successful.
Change can be challenging for anyone. It may take a few days to feel settled in, or a bit longer. The transition experience is different for everyone. You or your loved one will get there. The keys to success are preparation, a positive attitude, patience and understanding, and strong support network.
Everyone copes with change differently. Patience, support, and understanding are key themes that will help residents, loved ones, and friends adjust. Rest assured that the assisted living staff is experienced, ready, and willing to help with the process. Don’t be shy about asking questions or seeking assistance. It should be every assisted living care residence’s goal to help make your move a positive experience.
One of the biggest changes in moving to assisted living care is sharing space with people you don’t know. While this may seem uncomfortable, you’ll soon find that neighbors won’t affect your privacy. You’ll always have your own space. Loved ones and family members can visit, but you decide when. If you have questions or concerns about privacy or security, talk with facility staff.
Moving To Your New Home
Begin planning your move soon after choosing an assisted living care facility. Decide what furniture, clothes, and personal items you’ll bring and what ones you’ll store off-site, donate, or sell. Start packing well in advance of moving day. If you have a hard time making decisions about what to bring and what to leave, you’re not alone. Many residents struggle with this process. Try to remain positive and have loved ones and friends help you. Small prized possessions will go far in making your new home feel like home. When moving day arrives, ask loved ones and friends to help arrange and organize your new home. Arranging items to suit your preferences will make the adjustment easier.
Making the Emotional Transition
Moving is hard. It can make anyone feel stressed or overwhelmed. These feelings are generally temporary and disappear after you get settled in and develop your own routine. Give yourself time to adjust. Ask other residents if they have suggestions for the transition. Many folks find comfort in talking with a neighbor, close friend, or spiritual advisor. At first, you may tend to keep to yourself. This is normal. Try to get out and introduce yourself to other residents. Staying busy and participating in activities can make you feel more comfortable about your surroundings. Everyone is different. Some people embrace the move with open arms; others find it’s not so easy. If you feel adjusting is taking longer than you expected, you might want to have a care conversation with the assisted living care director or administrator.
Advice for New Residents
- Here are some tips to make your move easier:
- Read all assisted living care residence materials before you move in.
- Try to meet with sales and marketing director, facility director, and/or staff before moving day.
- Review all paperwork carefully before your move, so you can address any questions.
- Obtain a list from the residence of suggested items to bring.
- Pack wisely. Don’t bring everything.
- Read and familiarize yourself with residence policies.
- If the residence is helping you with your laundry, label your clothing to avoid any mix-ups.
- Read the activity schedule and choose two or three programs to attend early on to meet neighbors and other residents.
Tips for Loved Ones and Friends
As a loved one or friend transitions to an assisted living care community, try to be involved before, during, and after the move. Residents don’t want to be treated differently. While their address has changed, they haven’t. The experience may be just as difficult for you as it is for your loved one or friend. These emotions are natural and expected. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind:
- Help with sorting, packing, and moving when asked
- Listen as your loved one or friend talks about what was left behind
- Stay positive even if you don’t agree with the move decision
- Recognize that moving to a new home represents a major change
- Call and visit often, especially during the first few weeks
- Provide support, patience, and understanding
- Make decisions for your loved one or friend
- Take over sorting, packing, and moving without being asked
- Focus on your needs and wishes. The move is about the resident!
- Criticize the decision to move to assisted living care
- Make light of the transition
- Rush into talking about selling the resident’s house
- Make promises that you cannot keep
- Be negative