If your loved one is in the process of making a lifestyle change, and in search of care solutions – you know just how emotional this life transition can be for the whole family. One of life’s most significant transitions is moving into assisted living. It is a crucial decision that should be viewed as the beginning of a new adventure, not the end of a journey. This transition is a continuation of a meaningful lifestyle.
Here are six tips for adult children to ease the transition into assisted living for their senior loved one.
1: Stay Positive
No matter the circumstances, this transition is most likely a little frightening for you. It can be difficult knowing where to start especially if your elderly parent is not ready to talk about moving into a senior living community yet. It is helpful to remain positive and understand the benefits that staying upbeat can have on everyone’s outlook about the situation.
Ultimately, staying positive helps you expand your focus, improve your social capabilities and improve your ability to solve problems. It will also encourage increased physical activity, which is critical for keeping sharp, alert, and physically able to handle the additional (albeit temporary) stress of moving. Finally, positivity has been linked with increasing the ability to learn and adapt to new surroundings and situations.
2. Respect Their Feelings
Whether a choice or need is prompting you to explore assisted living, it is natural for your loved one to experience a sense of loss. They are moving away from their home, possibly away from friends, and into a new living environment. It is also possible that they are experiencing other losses in their life like a spouse, pet, driver’s license, or different physical abilities. As a caregiver, you are also experiencing your own emotions about the upcoming transition.
No matter how much positivity is retained, it is essential to acknowledge the range of emotions that everyone is experiencing. Recognizing their feelings of loss will help them feel supported. In addition to feelings of loss, they may also feel angry, sad, scared or even guilty. Addressing the elephant in the room will help you and your loved one release these feelings and embrace a healthier frame of mind moving forward.
As you and your aging parent work through the transition into assisted living, the staff at Monarch are here to help!
Our team is fully-trained to fulfill the specific needs of your loved one, even if all they need is a hug. We work to support not only our residents but also their family members.
3. Learn More About Your Financial Options
Understanding the ways that you can pay for long-term care is key to managing expenses and preserving financial longevity. Many people are shocked when they first learn about the costs associated with living in an assisted living community, especially if additional care services are required. We are committed to providing transparent prices and giving your family the details up front as well as providing other resources to help you understand the financial options that are available to you. Even if your loved one is on a fixed income, there are always resources available that may offset the cost.
One of the best benefits of moving into an assisted living community is that the amenities that most people pay for separately when living on their own are included in a monthly rental fee. When comparing the cost of living in an assisted living facility versus the costs of owning your own home – many people find that the prices are very similar and that assisted living is in fact affordable.
4. Choose the Right Community
Make sure when deciding on an assisted living community that your loved one is actively involved in the selection and allow them to take ownership of the transition. Ultimately, they are the one moving into a new environment – so it is essential that they feel empowered during this change. Before visiting a community, start a conversation with your loved one by asking them questions about what they would like they would like to see in a potential senior community. Ask them questions about their favorite activities, their transportation needs, their commitment to medical care, and their ideas of a safe environment.
Finding a community that provides a balance of what is important to you and them is key to making everyone happy with the decision. Look for referrals from family and friends! Word of mouth is often the best for decision making.
The next step in selecting the right community is to explore your local area that meets your geographical requirements. Communities like Monarch are more than happy to give you a tour in person!
Here are a few things to consider when visiting a community:
- How does the building smell when you enter?
- What kind of activities of daily living do staff members help with?
- How active are the residents?
- Are you introduced to residents and other staff members?
- Does the community feel hospitable?
- Could you envision your loved one living there?
- Are they able to meet all of your loved one’s health care needs?
- What is the food like in the dining room?
After a community has been selected and a move-in date is set, discuss downsizing and what items they would like to take to their new apartment. Monarch offers unfurnished living spaces that are available to be customized by our residents with their personal belongings. However, in most cases, you will likely need to downsize if your loved one is moving from a house into a smaller living situation.
Here are a few ideas to help overcome their potential emotional hurdle of parting with cherished belongings:
- Pass along heirlooms to a younger relative that can appreciate the meaning behind the items.
- Instead of taking sets of items (like a China dish set) take one place setting and create a shadow box on the wall.
- Donate less essential items to someone in need through a local charity.
- If they just cannot part with items, consider looking into short-term storage, so they have more time to make decisions about their belongings
Visit Them As Often As You Can
Frequent visits from a familiar face will significantly help a loved one feel more comfortable at their new residence. Once your loved ones move into a community, you will no doubt experience less stress and worry about their safety. Now when you visit, you can enjoy time together as a family rather than worrying about their everyday needs. These visits also encourage your loved one to show off their community by introducing you to their new friends and their favorite staff member.
Visiting your loved one is also essential during the beginning of the transition period to endure that they are receiving the level of care and attention they need. Not only will you be able to observe how they are doing, but you will be able to hear from them what life is like at their new home.
Start the Journey with Monarch
Although everyone has their own reasons for looking into senior living for a loved one, many older adults who start their journey in assisted living report that their social, intellectual and physical well-being have improved since making the move.
We know the process of choosing a community isn’t easy. But you don’t have to go through it alone. That’s why Monarch Communities® work with each and every family to discover their best fit, whether thats assisted living or one of our other senior living options like memory care, independent living, skilled nursing homes and care facilities, and more.
If moving into a senior care community is the right move, we help family caregivers coordinate parent move-ins, so the process can be less stressful and everyone will have peace of mind.