Transitioning into senior living is a big change no matter what. But the shift can be easier if the new resident is surrounded by the support of loved ones. Even if you don’t live within visiting distance of the senior living community where your loved one resides, there are many things you can do when they first move in and throughout their time living in the community to help them feel loved, supported, and to encourage them to actively participate with their fellow residents.
Here is what you should consider as your loved one makes the transition.
Supporting your loved one on their journey in senior living starts well before they even move in. By being a part of the senior living conversation from the start, you set yourself up as someone they can trust to support them and be by their side no matter what happens.
Have an Open Discussion
Especially if your loved one needs extra care and support through assisted living or memory care, moving to senior living may be a sensitive topic for them. Approach the conversation gently and openly, making space for their opinions and thoughts to be heard.
Help Them Research Senior Living Options
It’s essential to find the right senior living option for your loved one’s needs, interests, and lifestyle — and that can be a lot to research and figure out! Coming alongside your loved one to help them do the initial search, tour potential senior living communities, and ask questions to find their new forever home can be a huge help for them during the selection process.
Encourage a Positive Outlook
Assisted living improves the quality of life for residents by giving them the community and practical support they need, but it can still be discouraging to need such care at times. Keep the conversation positive any time you talk about the move to senior living (and any time you talk about it after they move in)! Focus on all the benefits of senior living (of which there are many) to help them have a good perspective.
The move-in process can be complicated when moving to senior living because it not only involves a lot of logistical and physical effort that older adults likely can’t handle alone, but it also tends to lead to a lot of emotional strain. Your loved one is saying hello to a wonderful new lifestyle, but they’re also saying goodbye to the lifestyle they’ve known for many years. Your support can make the entire transition much easier, especially during the move-in process.
Help with Packing and Downsizing
Getting ready to move to senior living is an extensive process, and your loved one could likely use help organizing and packing. Sort through all their belongings to downsize, starting with dividing what they want and need for their senior living apartment from the items they no longer need. For example, large furniture items can be sold, given away, or donated, but sentimental items and photographs should be packaged and prepared to move.
Set Up Their New Home
Once it’s time for your loved one to officially move into senior living, they will need assistance moving into their new apartment and setting it up to be comfortable, and making it feel like home. You can ease a lot of moving stress by helping them take care of any logistical elements and spending a day decorating their apartment with them, including all the sentimental items that help them to feel right at home in a new place!
Explore the Amenities to Encourage an Active Lifestyle
The amenities are among the best parts of senior living at any care level. At St. Anthony’s, our amenities are designed with our residents’ physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs in mind to encourage them to live fulfilling, happy lives and engage with the rest of the senior living community outside of their apartments.
Making new friends and getting out and about may feel like a lot for your loved one to do alone, but you can help by attending a few events during their first weeks in senior living! Join them for dinner and sit at a table with other residents, attend a fun activity, join them for mass, or take a fitness class at the on-site gym. Help your loved one meet other residents and form habits that keep them active and social.
Once They’re Settled in a Senior Living Community
After your loved one has had time to settle in, your job as their support system isn’t over! They still need the familiarity and comfort of your presence in their life, even if you don’t live locally. Before you say goodbye, set up a plan to call them regularly at a time when they won’t be busy. By doing this, they’ll always know when they next get to hear from you. You should also visit as often as possible — at least once a week if you live nearby!
Come Join the St. Anthony’s Family!
At St. Anthony’s, we encourage family partnerships with our residents. Family members and off-campus friends are always welcome to come join in on the fun and spend time with their loved ones. In fact, that’s one of the memory care key signatures!
If your loved one is considering senior living, we would love to show them around our beautiful campus and give them a taste of what life is like in our thriving community at the heart of Kansas City. Show them your support by contacting us to schedule a tour, then come with your loved one to see for yourself whether this is the right home for their next big adventure.