The time has come.

You’ve convinced your senior loved one that they need the level of care an assisted living facility provides. Moving to assisted living is a hard transition for seniors, but there are things you can do to make the process easier for you and your loved one.

Do Your Research

So much of your loved one’s experience in assisted living will depend on finding the right facility for them. This first step is therefore extremely important.

Research the assisted living facilities in your area. Read up on the different features and amenities available at each one. Consider how the cost of each compares to the value. And read reviews from other residents and their loved ones who have direct experience with the assisted living home.

You should come to realize that not all nursing homes are the same, and some provide unique services. For example, some might be set up to cater towards independent living, while others might have a greater focus on nursing for more advanced senior care. Some facilities might offer memory care for older adults with signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but some may not.

Some preliminary research will help you narrow down the best choices so you don’t waste time visiting facilities that won’t meet your loved one’s needs. Once you do start making visits to get a feel for your options in person, go with your loved one so they have a chance to weigh in and see how the different facilities all compare.

Volunteer and old people

Keep Them Connected

Have a plan to help them stay active and connected to their friends and family.

One of the great benefits of assisted living is that it gives seniors easy access to a new social community. Living at home as you age can make it harder and harder to get out of the house and be around other people, in assisted living that’s built in.

Nonetheless, one of your loved one’s biggest concerns about the move is likely to be whether or not it will mean they see you and their other friends and family members less often. To make sure that doesn’t happen, make a plan in advance that you all commit to. Maybe it’s a weekly card game or a promise to take your loved one out shopping once a month. Make it regular, and make sure you keep up with it once they do move in.

Start Downsizing

Moving is a pain in the best of times, but if your loved one has lived in the same home for many years, it can be especially challenging. A room in an assisted living home will have limited space to work with, so chances are, your loved one will need to say goodbye to some of their stuff.

To downsize your home, go through each room of the house and divide your belongings into three lists:

    • What’s going with you. This list needs to be fairly short. Consider the space you’ll have available and only focus on necessities
    • What to get rid of. This list will probably be long. You can take items to Goodwill, sell them online, or give them away to friends and family.
  • What to keep elsewhere. You don’t have to get rid if everything that can’t fit. Your family members may be able to hang onto items in their homes and you can find a good storage facility for the rest.

Senior woman relaxing at old age home

Make the Room Feel Like Home

When you’re downsizing, you’ll be making some hard decisions about what’s really necessary to take with you. Part of that conversation should include items and decorations that will make the space feel like home.

You don’t want your loved one to feel like they’re living in an institution, you want their room to have character and warmth. Talk about what it will take to make their new room feel comfortable and personal for them and work to help them make it feel more like the old family home.

Most seniors aren’t exactly excited about a move to a new apartment at an assisted living facility, but it can make a big difference to their quality of life. Having the level of care you need from full time staff members and being surrounded by peers that can quickly become new friends has its perks. The move won’t be easy, but you can do your part to make it as painless as possible.

Kristen Hicks

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