A Few Tips To Prepare You To Help Your Loved Ones Transition To Assisted Living
Even under the very best circumstances, it is difficult to help a parent transition from living in their own home to living in a senior facility, assisted living, or nursing home. But having to make this transition during the COVID-19 pandemic is emotionally grueling for everyone involved. While some parents look forward to living in a community with others where they will have friends and activities, others are not so willing to give up their privacy and personal space. And, with COVID-19 presenting a greater threat to the residents of senior facilities, no one really wants to make the move if it isn’t absolutely necessary. In fact, admissions are limited at senior residences around the country.
Arm Yourself With Knowledge Now For A Move In The Future
As the adult child helping one or both parents prepare to move into a senior or assisted living facility, you may have children of your own and a career. Not always, but a majority of the time it is a daughter who is juggling the demands of her own family and a career, along with caregiving for elderly parents. I found a wonderful article written by a woman, a daughter, who experienced placing her mother in assisted living pre-COVID and wrote a book about it. I’ve edited some of her strategies to make them relevant for a future move as we await a return to some semblance of normalcy. I’ve provided the link to her article below.
- Remember that you can surround your parent with personal belongings. Moving to assisted living usually means downsizing. While you won’t be able to take major furnishings, you can remind your parent that when they do make the move, you’ll be able to bring photographs, photo albums, books and favorite artwork. You’ll also be able to bring their favorite blanket and pillows, as well as favorite teacup. Remind your parent that they will always have the comforting items they are accustomed to that make anyplace they reside feel homey.
- Limit new things, cherish familiar items. Very often, adult children can’t resist the temptation to fill a parent’s new residence with new things, thinking the latest and greatest will feel fresh and exciting to your parent. The consensus of those who have made that decision previously is don’t do it! Moving into an assisted living facility is a major adjustment where everything is new – the people, the food, the routines. Don’t overwhelm your parents with a new phone or remote control for the television, or a fancy new coffee maker. Limit the number of new things they need to learn. Stick with the things that are familiar to them at make them feel at home.
- Acknowledge the difficult parts. Whether prior to the move or afterwards, you want to paint the new move in a positive light. It’s important, though not to talk at your parents about all the wonderful new activities and people and opportunities. Listen to their fears and concerns and acknowledge them. Then help them understand and get through their fears. They will be more likely to listen to what you have to say if they feel like you listen to what they have to say.