How to Prepare Your Parents for Assisted Living
As people get older, they usually find themselves living in new localities, including nursing homes and assisted living spaces. However, moving from one home into another is easier said than done and may require comprehensive preparation. Luckily, we’re here to tell you how to prepare your parents for assisted living.
Preparing your parents for assisted living includes involving them in making important decisions concerning the move, helping them break the ice with their new community members, and planning for the move beforehand.
This article seeks to provide insight into how you can prepare your parents for assisted living, including ways in which you can ensure their emotional wellbeing during the shifting process.
Preparing Your Parents for Assisted Living
Shifting into an assisted living space includes a massive learning curve and an emotional adjustment period for your parents. Here are some tips that can help prepare them for an assisted living facility before they make the move:
1. Ensure Your Parent’s Involvement
The key ingredient to making the transition into assisted living easier for your parents is to make sure they’re kept within the loop of the shifting process at all times.
While you’re bound to have your parents’ best interests at heart, it isn’t fair to them if all their decisions are made for them, especially without consulting them first.
Remember, regardless of how old your parents may have become, they still have a say in decisions related to their lives. This includes the process of shifting into assisted living. So, do your best to keep them updated on any progress on the subject. Also, try to incorporate their wishes into the decision-making process whenever feasible.
Important decisions concerning assisted living include choosing a place to live and deciding on a payment scheme.
However, in some circumstances, parents may be mentally unfit to participate in the decision-making process. For example, if they have Alzheimer’s or dementia, their input will be of very little help. It may be more practical for you to take charge and make important decisions by yourself in such cases.
Still, we recommend you try to keep them updated with what’s going on, even if they have no say in the decisions. Knowing what to expect can also help them mentally ease into the idea of shifting into an assisted living facility before the time to move finally comes around.
2. Get Acquainted with the Community Before Moving In
After shifting into an assisted living space, your parents will find themselves in an all-new community. So, do your best to help them get acquainted with the community beforehand. You can do this by attending events and classes at the new assisted living facility so that living with them in the future becomes easier for your parents.
Being constantly surrounded by people you’ve never met before can be daunting, especially if you’re expected to live with them indefinitely.
When shifting into their new assisted living space, your parents may experience feelings of fear, discomfort, shyness, and disorientation. If they’re particularly introverted, they may find it challenging to break the ice with their new community members.
To help them avoid such unpleasant feelings, you can try accompanying them on their first visit to their new assisted living space and encourage them to start a conversation with older residents.
It may also be a smart idea to sign them up for a community class, so they have a chance to interact with other residents. Get in touch with the assisted living space’s staff to find out about any short, weekly classes that your parents may be able to take part in before they make the move.
Getting a feel of the community and making a few friends before moving into the assisted living space will make the shifting process significantly more comfortable for your parents.
On a side note, remember that your parents moving away doesn’t mean you should lose touch with them. Your parents will soon be in a new place, which can trigger feelings of loneliness and make them miss their family even more.
So, be sure to visit them whenever you get time. If you find it too difficult to incorporate regular visits into your busy schedule, you can also stay in touch with them through messenger apps, such as the Ohana App. This will allow them to reach out to you anytime they like and for you to do the same.
3. Decorate The New Space Together
Decorating the new living space with your parents can help them feel loved and cared for and help eliminate any fears of loneliness that may have surfaced in the shifting process.
Ask for the new space’s floor plans. The assisted living facility’s staff can help you get your hands on these, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Once the blueprints are with you, you can go over them with your parents and decide on new furniture to get together. If you’re sticking to some old belongings, consider where to put those too.
To make your parents feel safe and comfortable in their new home, consider putting up some family photos on their walls. Little things like this can help lift their spirits and remind them that they’re not alone despite moving into a new home.
You should also draft a timeline for moving their belongings and furniture into the assisted living space. It’s always better to be prepared ahead of time. This will make the shifting process less stressful for you and your parents when the day finally rolls around.
Moving into an assisted living home can prove to be both physically and emotionally challenging for your parents. So, be sure to support them through the process and use the tips noted above to help them prepare for assisted living.