04 Nov 9 Tips to Help a Senior Prepare for Assisted Living
Making the switch from independent to assisted living is a major adjustment for seniors. They’ll have to move to an unfamiliar place while leaving their old home behind. As a result, some seniors may feel reluctant about the transition. As a family member or caretaker, though, there are several ways to help a senior prepare for assisted living.
#1) Explain the Benefits
Seniors will feel more comfortable, as well as confident, making the switch to assisted living if they understand its benefits. You can tell the senior, for example, that all home cleaning and maintenance will be taken care of. You can also explain the notable attractions and activities available to members of the assisted living community. Each assisted living community offers its own unique benefits, so you’ll need to research prospective communities to convey their respective benefits.
#2) Begin the Downsizing Process
You can help a senior prepare for assisted living by beginning the downsizing process. In other words, help the senior go through his or her current home to remove unwanted or unnecessary items. Seniors can (and should) take some of their current belongings to their assisted living home. With that said, it’s generally best to downsize beforehand to ease the transition. Seniors can sell, donate and dispose of their unwanted belongings, resulting in a less-stressful transition.
#3) Choose the Right Community
Perhaps the most important tip to help a senior prepare for assisted living is to choose the right community. This will become the senior’s new home, so it’s paramount that you choose the right assisted living community. When researching prospective communities, look at reviews from current and past members. If the senior is on Medicare, you should also consider choosing an assisted living community that accepts Medicare.
#4) Take a Tour of the Community
Another tip to help a senior prepare for assisted living is to take them on a tour of the community. Most reputable and well-known assisted living communities offer tours at no charge. Just call the community to schedule a tour with the senior. By showing him or her around the community, the senior will have a better understanding of what to expect.
#5) Personalize Their New Room
Seniors will feel right at home if their assisted living home is personalized with familiar decorations. Therefore, you should help the senior decorate his or her new home. You can take some of the senior’s current decorations and hang them in the walls of their new home. Just a few familiar decorations can make a world of difference in easing the senior’s transition to assisted living. When a senior
#6) Ask for Input
A common mistake family members make when preparing a loved one for assisted living is making all the decisions themselves. Rather than asking the senior for input, they decide which assisted living community the senior chooses and when he or she should move into it. Unfortunately, this may cause the senior to feel left out of the decision-making process, adding extra stress to the transition. You can make seniors feel more comfortable with the transition by asking them for input. At the same time, this allows you to identify areas of concern, which can you address before the senior moves into the assisted living community.
#7) Consider Medical Needs
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), four in five seniors suffer from at least one chronic disease, with 77% of seniors suffering from two chronic diseases. The good news is that assisted living communities have the staff, as well as equipment, to accommodate the unique medical needs of seniors. Keep in mind, however, that some communities have a higher ratio of medical staff to residents than others. If the senior needs regular or constant medical care, you need to choose a community with an appropriate number of medical professionals.
#8) Create a Moving Schedule
Don’t forget to create a moving schedule when helping a senior prepare for assisted living. Moving is always stressful, and moving into an assisted living community is no exception. Even if the senior isn’t capable of lifting and moving boxes, he or she will still be displaced during this process. For a smooth and hassle-free move, you should create a schedule for the senior’s moving day. Just remember to ask the senior for input before making any final decisions.
#9) Visit Frequently
After the senior has moved into the assisted living community, set aside time to visit him or her. The senior will likely meet new people and make new friends. Nonetheless, you can make him or her feel at home by visiting frequently. Here at Heritage on the Marina, we offer family and guest accommodations for overnight stays. There’s also a private garden room for family and guest visits.
Transitioning to assisted living shouldn’t cause stress or heartache for seniors. By following these tips, you can help seniors feel right at home in the community.