Are We Making the Right Choice?
When deciding if a senior housing option is right for your loved one, it’s important to consider not only their current needs, but future ones as well.
- Physical and medical needs. Will this move allow for help with the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, cooking, cleaning and help with pets? If they have a chronic illness, can the community accommodate the changes you expect to see?
- Home maintenance. Are home maintenance and repairs included? Will someone be available to help with housekeeping and laundry if needed?
- Social and emotional needs. Will there be opportunities to stay as active and engaged with life as your senior wishes to be? Preventing isolation and loneliness is an important part of successful aging.
Preparing a Senior Loved One for Change
It’s normal for anyone to feel confused, vulnerable or even angry as they begin to accept that they just can’t do everything they used to do. Make sure you acknowledge those feelings in your aging loved one. Also remind them that a move to a senior living community will help them improve their quality of life.
- Explain how assisted living protects independence. Moving to an assisted living community will allow your loved one to maintain their independence but have peace of mind knowing support is there when needed.
- Help your loved one cope with feelings of loss. The loss of their home, especially if they have lived there for many years, can have a significant impact on a senior. Encourage your loved one to maintain relationships with old friends and family, while still being open to meeting new people and exploring new interests.
- Suggest a trial stay. A trial stay, also known as respite, allows your loved one have the chance to experience a senior living community without having to make a long-term commitment. This can give your senior family member a greater sense of control over his or her situation.
The Impact of Aging on Family Members
Finally, understand that you will also be impacted by the move your senior loved one makes. It will be an adjustment for all of you, especially if you have grown accustomed to providing a significant amount of care and support for them.
A few factors to keep these things in mind during this transition include:
- Don’t feel guilty. Very often family members can feel guilty when an aging parent or senior family member moves in to an assisted living community. Try to remember that this move is in their best interest. Your loved one’s health and well-being will benefit from this transition.
- Keep in touch. When visiting is not possible, family members can keep in contact with both the parent and the staff. Staff can keep family updated on their loved one’s involvement in social activities and reassure them that they are settling in to their new community. Video chat services like Skype can be another avenue for staying in touch.
- Limit the amount of hand holding. Although it is important to visit and call, give your loved one the space they need to establish independence, make new friends and get involved in their new “neighborhood”.
- Make it home. Help your senior loved one settle in faster by making their new home look and feel like their old one. Plan ahead so you save space for their favorite chair by the television and have places for pictures and mementos that mean the most to them.
By respecting your loved one’s concerns and keeping the lines of communication open, you can help to make this new chapter of life an exciting one. For more information on helping to prepare your loved one for a move visit Choosing the Right Senior Living.