health risks associated with isolation, a strong social network can help older adults cope with age-related changes. One of which is a move to a senior living community.
The best gift you can give to a senior who moves to an assisted living facility is the gift of spending quality time with them, especially in the early days after their move. This emotional support helps them continue to feel connected to their social network and the community.
But some friends and family may feel uncertain about making a visit. Many people have never visited a senior living community and simply aren’t sure what to expect.
Breaking Senior Living Stereotypes
Once a family member or friend is settled in to their new home, they may be eager to catch up and show visitors around. So it’s important to find ways to overcome any uncertainties and apprehensions that may prevent you and others you know from visiting.
The first step to becoming more comfortable with the environment at a senior living community is recognizing that many of the stereotypes associated with them just aren’t true.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of seniors moving to senior living aren’t bedridden or depressed. In fact, most residents in senior living communities are active and engaged with life despite whatever physical limitations they may be living with. They enjoy the opportunities they have to participate in activities that inspire emotional, physical and intellectual growth.
Ways to Get Involved in a Loved One’s Senior Living Community
Here are a few ways you can overcome your own fears and show your senior loved one how much you care:
- Plan a housewarming party: By helping your loved one celebrate their move into senior living, you are showing them that you are making an effort to understand their new life. It might not seem like much, but it can make a big difference in getting off to a good start. Celebrating with friends and family can ease the transition for everyone.
- Talk to someone in your support system: It is important to understand that it might be tough for you to cope with this change, too. Talking with people who are familiar with your experience and are able to listen can provide a sense of understanding. You can also enlist the help of a religious counselor or therapist if you feel as though you cannot work through your feelings on your own. An online caregiver support group is another solution. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help!
- Plan activities you can do together: Some families find it helps to create a list of activities they can do when visiting their loved one. From working on arts and crafts projects to enjoying old movies, it makes it easier to spend meaningful time together.
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