You’ve finally convinced your aging parent that they need a little help with household chores and activities of daily living (ADLs). You’ve selected an assisted living senior community that fits their needs, personality, and their budget.
But you might still be expecting some resistance from your aging loved one about the move to assisted living.
Helping a Senior Loved One Prepare for a Move
These tips will help the move go smoothly:
1. Empower Your Senior Loved One
If possible, encourage your loved one to play a deciding role in choosing their senior community. Let them decide on the furnishings and décor, what comes with them and what they leave behind. You may even lay out a floor plan on graph paper or on a computer or tablet, so they can consider the furniture placement and what items will fit in their new home.
As you proceed to pack and schedule the move, let your loved one choose the moving day.
2. Visit the Community Several Times
Prepare your loved one for what’s to come by spending time together at the community before the move. Get to know the staff, as well as other residents and family members. Open the lines of communication and encourage your loved one to ask any questions they might have.
3. Talk, Talk, Talk
Discuss everything—even the seemingly trivial details. To your loved one, moving to assisted living may feel like relinquishing control of their life. Give them some of that control back by involving them in decisions.
4. Decorate Like Home
Don’t treat your loved one’s space in the senior community like a hotel room. It will be their new home. Hang their favorite artwork on the walls, set up picture frames with family photos and give your senior family member a chance to surround themselves with items they love.
The move could even be an opportunity for your aging parent to reinvent their sense of style and choose bold, unique colors they might not have selected for their previous home.
5. Ease the Transition
Make plans to spend all of moving day with your loved one, advises Patricia Bowen, a senior move manager at Get Ready for Tomorrow. Once you’ve helped set up their apartment, join some of the on-site activities, walk the grounds, and share a meal together in the dining room.
6. Make Time for Your Emotions, Too
Give yourself time and permission to recognize the loss that comes from moving a loved one to assisted living. You might gain free time and peace-of-mind, but it can also feel a bit like empty nest syndrome. When all the packing, moving, and decorating is done, reward yourself with some quiet time.
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