Helping your loved one transition into life in an assisted living facility can be emotionally challenging for you as well as for your loved one. You understandably want your loved one to be as comfortable as possible throughout the process. Your loved one may be stressed because of a fear of the unknown or because of the move in general. These steps can help you to make this transition period easier for both of you.
1- Choose the Right Assisted Living Home
The first step that you should take to prepare for this experience is to spend ample time researching and visiting different assisted living communities. It may be best to find a facility that is located close to your home so that you can easily visit on a regular basis. The facility should have a home-like atmosphere and plenty of engaging activities to keep your loved one busy. In addition, the facility should be clean, have a friendly staff and have great reviews. Plan a tour of the facility with your loved one before the move-in date arrives.
2- Create a Home-Like Experience
When you move your loved one into the assisted living facility, make his or her room as home-like as possible. Talk to the facility about personal items that are permitted in the space. If possible, bring plenty of pictures of loved ones to place on walls, on a desk or on a dresser. Use bedding from home as well. Set up the bathroom with all of his or her personal hygiene items, and help your loved one unpack clothing in the closet and dresser. Any other items for hobbies or personal interests should also come with him or her if possible.
3- Talk to the Staff
When you leave your loved one in the home for the first time, you are trusting unknown individuals to care for your relative. They may not be aware of your loved one’s preferences, quirks and dislikes. Talk to the staff members about their new resident, and set expectations for them. You may also ask them to look for warning signs of a potential issue that the loved one’s doctor may have talked to you about.
4- Supply Snacks in the Room
In some assisted living homes, residents are allowed to have their own set of snacks and drinks to enjoy in between meals. These can help your loved one to feel more comfortable and at home in this environment. Stock the room with enough snacks and drinks to last until you arrive for your next scheduled visit. Consider choosing healthy snacks so that your relative can get the nutrients that he or she needs.
5- Think About Entertainment
Sitting in a quiet room in an assisted living facility can be dull and boring for many people. While the facility may host some activities, it likely will not have activities every hour of the day. Consider the types of entertainment that your loved one enjoys, such as knitting, reading books, listening to music, painting and more. If the facility allows it, provide the tools, equipment or other items needed for your relative to be entertained in his or her room.
6- Make It Easy for Your Loved One to Communicate With You
Your loved one should be able to reach out to you when necessary. If he or she is technologically savvy, you can provide your loved one with a cell phone for direct communication to you. A laptop is another excellent communication tool that can be used. Otherwise, ensure that your loved one has your phone number so that he or she can call you from the facility’s landline. Providing your relative with a large calendar that specifically shows the dates when you will visit is also helpful.
Moving an elderly relative into an assisted living home can be a difficult transition for you as well as for your loved one. His or her comfort level during this transition can be enhanced when you take significant efforts to create a comfortable, home-like environment. Everything from easy communication to ensuring quality care from the staff are also important. Walk through each of these steps as applicable so that your loved one is happy and comfortable in this new environment.