Helping Your Loved One Adjust to Senior Living

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When your relative gets to a certain age, there may come a time when they are no longer safe or capable of living in their own home. As a result, it may come to the point where you have to speak openly about the prospect of moving into senior living accommodation. It is normal for them to feel apprehensive at the idea because they may believe they will lose their independence and familiar surroundings.

Moving your relative out of their home and finding new living arrangements can be a huge decision to make – and one that you may never have expected. However, it may be useful to understand how to help your loved one adjust to the concept of senior living accommodation for their own benefit. This blog may be a helpful tool to refer to if you’re in this position and need some guidance:

Choose a home that is suitable for them

There is a vast number of assisted living homes to choose from in towns and cities across the country, so it can be extremely difficult to know which one will be most suitable. However, ensuring it is a good fit is of high importance. If your loved one moves into a home that simply isn’t right for them, you’ll find you’ll be dealing with the consequences later. Although their unhappiness may be short-term, they will never truly feel comfortable, which can leave you feeling guilty and burdened.

Read also: How to Save Up for Early Retirement

With this in mind, it would be wise to carry out enough research into the different types of homes, so your decision is well-informed. Different types of residences offer different amenities and services, which are worth noting down so you’re able to make a comparison before selecting your final choice. If you aren’t sure exactly what your loved one may need in the future (due to fluctuating health), it would be wise to choose senior living accommodation that is adaptable and provides carers and other services that can be utilized as and when needed.

There are several factors you may wish to think about when choosing a home that’s suitable for your loved one, including the likes of:

  • The cost of living
  • If / how many meals are included
  • If there are in-house carers
  • If there are housekeeping services available
  • If pets are allowed
  • If there are activities on offer

Introduce a sense of normality

Moving out of their home and into a strange environment can be a huge upheaval for your loved one, especially if they have lived in the same place for many years. In fact, some individuals view it as a loss and essentially go through a grieving process, in the sense that they are leaving their cherished past behind. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and help them cope in any way you can until they adjust to their new abode.

Ensure you bring along plenty of photographs, keepsakes and ornaments that they’re attached to create a home from home environment they will eventually become accustomed to.

Encourage them to get involved

One of the major benefits of a senior living community is the wide number of opportunities on offer to socialize with other residents. Take the time to research what is on offer before your loved one moves in so you can discuss what they may like to get involved in once they arrive. You may find that they are reluctant to participate in the early days, which is to be expected. It is a big enough upheaval to move elsewhere without being forced to mingle with other people, so give them time to come to terms with their new environment, but don’t allow them to get into a rut. Encouraging them to participate in on-site activities with other residents could significantly boost both their mental and physical health.

Stay connected

It’s now easier than ever to stay in frequent contact with your loved one and there’s never an excuse to speak at any time of the day, thanks to video call technology. This will prevent isolation or the feeling of abandonment setting in during the first few days. If you live close to the home, visit them as and when possible and this should help them slowly adjust to their new surroundings and view their new situation as a new normal. If they feel as though they have been pushed aside and forgotten about, they are likely to view their new place as a prison rather than their home.

Allow them to be independent

On the other hand, allowing your loved one to settle in and gain independence is an essential step in their personal growth. Regular visits are helpful in the early stages to get them settled in, but this doesn’t mean you should overprotect them or constantly make decisions on their behalf. While it may be in your nature to do so, or you have always felt the need while they lived alone, it can become a major obstacle in allowing them to fend for themselves and adapt to their new surroundings.

Essentially, this is one of the main reasons why choosing the right assisted living community is vital. Once they move in, it will be the responsibility of caregivers and other residents to help them with the settling in process and if they don’t feel comfortable in their surroundings, it will become a huge strain on you. The majority of your loved one’s day to day interactions will be with their neighbors, so it’s important to encourage some independence and allow them to become part of the community.

Throw a party

There’s always an excuse to throw a party so when your loved one has settled into their new abode, why not celebrate the occasion with a small family gathering? This will not only start their new journey on a positive note but also allows family members to get a true feel for the place and make any living suggestions to allow them to live a happier lifestyle going forward.

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