Moving into a new home is usually exciting, but it can sometimes prove emotionally challenging. The process involves abandoning parts of your past—and leaving a place where you made countless memories. Moving to an assisted living facility can be additionally tricky because it means acknowledging that we're getting older and that we might require help with certain activities.
At Sunset, we've seen some new assisted living residents struggle in the early days following their move. However, there are ways to help ease a loved one's transition to assisted living, and we've compiled a few tips that can contribute to making someone's new place feel like home.
Start By Being Positive
Whenever a friend or family member is transitioning to assisted living, you can make a big difference by demonstrating a positive and supportive attitude throughout the process. Something as simple as referring to the person's new place as “home” can prove uplifting. Whether you're helping to pack belongings or assisting in the physical move, just being a positive role model during the relocation effort can make the transition easier.
Help Choose the Right Layout
Having a floor plan that suits a resident's personality and needs is critical to ensuring a comfortable move. For example, a roomy kitchen, open layout, and large gathering areas are perfect for those who enjoy entertaining. Others might place higher priorities on having a master bedroom, multiple bathrooms, or designated parking. Whatever a person's preferences, the right floor plan is key to feeling satisfied and happy in a new home.
Offer Some Storage Space
Moving to an assisted living facility can result in having less storage space. Downsizing can be extra emotional when it requires leaving behind cherished belongings. There might not be room to keep items such as holiday decorations, seasonal clothes, and treasured knick-knacks. If you have extra space at home, perhaps you could help by offering to store some of your loved one's possessions. Knowing that favorite objects are secure can make the moving process less unsettling.
Bring Items From a Former Home
Decorating and furnishing the new home with familiar items can make for a smoother move-in transition. Beloved artwork, books, awards, and photo albums are items that help quickly turn a space into a home. Bringing a favorite chair or other furniture pieces also helps to create a welcoming household atmosphere.
At Sunset, we encourage families and friends to visit every few days or so during their loved one's initial adjustment period. Hosting a housewarming party can go a long way toward making someone feel at home in an assisted living environment. Surrounded by familiar faces, your loved one will experience comfort and joy while beginning a new chapter in life.
Set Up Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing apps such as FaceTime and Skype are excellent ways for assisted living residents to stay in touch with loved ones. The apps provide audio and visual access to family and friends via computer, smartphone, or tablet. Videoconferencing allows you to check in on your loved one when you can't be there physically.
Encourage Participation in Social Activities
Moving involves not only changing locations but also growing apart from neighbors and close-knit communities. At Sunset, we know that social activities serve to add a community atmosphere to a new home. Engaging in group activities helps a new resident meet other residents, make new friends, and discover all the amenities that Sunset offers.
Growing accustomed to a new home takes time. When individuals move to assisted living, there is an understandable adjustment period. With a little planning, you can help your loved one make a smooth transition.