Most folks would prefer to age in their own home rather than move to an assisted living or memory care community. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the safest choice for some seniors.
Working with the seniors in your life to make the transition from home to a new community can be challenging. But there are some things you can do to make the move a little easier for everyone.
If you aren’t sure if it’s time to make the move to an assisted living community, the AARP has some helpful information to consider.
It might be easier for you to do the research and find the right community for your loved one, but don’t make the decision without talking with them about it first. You should expect some hesitation—even some anger or resolute unwillingness to move—when the topic is initially broached.
Remember that the home your loved one is being asked to leave may be the home they have lived in for the majority of their lives. Being patient and understanding will make this process easier. Be willing to listen to and address any concerns they may have.
As you are preparing for the move, several general housekeeping items will need to be taken care of. You’ll need to remember to change their address and contact information with any relevant businesses and individuals, update their newspaper delivery service, and cancel their cleaning service.
Start packing early, to avoid adding the stress of packing and making hasty decisions on top of the stress of the actual move. One possibility is renting a storage unit to hold furniture from the house until everyone involved in the decision is sure of what should be done with it — many assisted living communities don’t allow you to bring your own furniture.
One way to ease the nerves of your loved one before the move is to explain some of the benefits of the move. Is it possible for them to take a beloved pet to the new community? Will there be group activities that will allow them to meet new friends after living a solitary life for some time? Will there be medical staff on site for immediate attention?
When you move, be sure to take reminders of home, such as photos and keepsakes that will make the new environment seem less cold or unfamiliar. If the new space is large enough, take a piece of furniture such as a favorite chair that will make the area feel more like home. Call and visit often, especially during the first few weeks after the move. Continue to work through their concerns together and acknowledge and respect their feelings of loss.
Moving a senior into an assisted living or memory care community is a difficult decision to make, but it can be a positive step toward a new journey in life.