How can you tell when your loved one is ready for an assisted living community? If only it were as simple as a big, red flag popping up saying “NOW IS THE TIME!” Well, you may not see the big flag but chances are there are lots of little indicators that may have gone unnoticed.
If your parent or loved one is having more and more difficulty with everyday activities, such as getting around the house, running errands, showering and dressing, NOW is the time. Helping mom or dad recognize their changing needs and cope with an impending move is important.
If your loved one is opposed to or reluctant to make a move, suggest a short-term, trial stay at an assisted living community. They can take a “test drive” but not commit to a permanent move.
Supporting a Loved One in Preparation for Assisted Living
A move to assisted living is a major milestone for a parent (and their children!) even if all parties are in agreement. Regardless of the mental attitude toward the move (positive or negative), it is a time of change and loss. Here are some of the ways you can support mom or dad:
- Show Empathy and Compassion. Grief and feelings of loss are to be expected. Try to put this in perspective by not minimizing your loved one’s feelings of sadness or focusing too much on the positive. Respect their feelings, giving a listening ear and time to adjust.
- Work Through Concerns Together. Any concerns raised about moving should be taken seriously and resolved together. Matters that involve personal possessions like family heirloom, furniture and family pets should be handled decisively. Although private storage may be needed in some instances, checking with the staff of the senior facility ahead of time and getting a list of items to bring is recommended.
- Plan Ahead. If the move is scheduled a few weeks away, make sure you can get the time off from work to be with your loved one. Assist with storing, packing and moving. Be prepared to help with the transition and seek guidance from the staff of how other residents and families have made a successful move.
- Help Personalize Mom or Dad’s Living Space. To give the feeling of home, help your loved one decorate their apartment. Assist them with choosing the most meaningful items to bring to their new home for a personal touch of comfort.
In addition to a new living environment, your loved one has to adjust to new faces and personalities of both staff and residents; it can all be overwhelming. Therefore, visit often. A caregiver’s support and understanding will be needed more than ever.
- An assisted living facility is best suited for the parent who is having more and more difficulty with everyday activities, such as getting around the house, showering and dressing.
- If your loved one is reluctant to make a move, suggest a short-term, trial stay.
- Some of the ways you can emotionally support your loved one include: a) showing empathy and compassion, b) working through concerns together, c) planning ahead and d) helping to personalize your loved one’s new living space.
- A caregiver’s support and understanding will be needed more than ever especially after your loved one has moved in.
If Your Parent Is Ready For Assisted Living...
If your parent or loved one is ready for assisted living we encourage you to visit our website www.umh.org to learn more about our communities.