Moving into one of the assisted living communities is understandably an intimidating change. After all, you have lived your whole life in one place. And, now it’s time to give up a lot of independence and move somewhere else.
The worries and anxieties can overwhelm anyone. But, there are some ways to make this transition a little easier.
If you have recently moved to a facility, you can take the following steps to become more comfortable and create a home-like setting –
Talk to the Neighbours More Frequently
One of the quickest ways to get out of your shell is to befriend your neighbors. Surely, you have people living next door on the same floor.
Greet them when passing in the hallways. It’s the fastest way to get comfortable in a new setting. Sign up for as many activities as you can and talk to other participants. You could sign up for exercise classes.
Show a little initiative. Not only will you stay physically healthy but socializing will also keep you from feeling isolated, lonely, and depressed. Remember, other members, are probably going through the same painful transition. So, making friends will create a helpful social network to keep you company.
Get Acquainted with Staff and Caregivers
Everything and everyone is new when you first move to the community. So, initially, you have to do a lot of interacting with other caregivers and staff members.
You will have to attend frequent meetings with caregivers who will assess your needs to accordingly draft a care plan. You will also be meeting with a lot of nurses, fitness staff, social directors, dining staff, and others in leadership roles.
Remember, they are all there to make you feel welcomed, comfortable, and at home. So, do not feel hesitant. Try to break the ice by asking any questions or doubts that you may have.
Visit Your Loved One Frequently
Family members of the elderly should make it a point to pay them a visit frequently. This is particularly crucial during the first couple of weeks. This is often the most painful period. So, knowing that your family is there to support can minimise those feelings of abandonment.
Ideally, you should have a consistent schedule. Like once every week or two. Have a meal with them. Most communities offer a variety of dining options. Having a meal together is the perfect idea of spending some quality time with your parents.
Participate in Activities and Community Events
Senior living homes have a lot to offer in terms of health and safety. Among those, a big one is the social programs they offer which are not possible if the residents keep living at home. Look at the social calendar of the community and have a little chat with other residents.
Get to know what their favourite activities are. Being a part of the social activities early on is the perfect way to bond with others. Once you’re in the rhythm, partaking in your favorite activities will become one thing to look forward to. It will give you a sense of hope. You will get up every morning feeling excitement.
Do Not Forget The Life Outside of Community
Just because you are in assisted living, doesn’t mean that your life outside of it is not relevant. In fact, being in touch with the outer world will avoid that feeling of being holed up in just one place. Most senior living facilities will have some kind of transportation service.
Whenever possible, arrange a trip to the grocery store, to the doctor, park, and other common places. Some communities may not cover the trip. In that case, you can always ask your loved ones to arrange for a ride through ride sharing or home care service.
Become a Member of a Club/Group
See if there are special groups for specific interests and hobbies such as a book club, gardening club, bible study, etc. Talk to the social director to discover what all is out there. See what sparks your interest and show an initiative to join it.
Make It a Home
Your new home should not feel like a hospital-like setting. It’s good to turn it into a home by decorating it in fun ways. Grab your favourite family pictures, photos, heirlooms and hang them on the walls. Grab your favourite blanket and pillows for a cosy atmosphere.
Have a little corner to place all your favourite books and photo albums. Artwork is another way to make you feel at home. It’s also something soothing to look at.
There’s no denying that change is hard, especially at old age. But, there are always ways to make things work and turn them around. You just have to focus on the solution rather than fixating on the problem. Hopefully, this post gave you some inspiration on how to make the transition easy in your new place.