Transitioning into assisted living is a hard time for both you and your loved one. There are a series of conflicting feelings that need to be dealt with during the first few weeks of this transition. You may feel guilty, sad or worried that your loved one will harbor ill feelings towards you. Do not let these things can make your visits uncomfortable and make it hard for you to enjoy your time with your loved one. There are plenty of ways to ease the transition and make it as pleasant as possible.
What You Can Expect
The first month is the hardest part of transition. The day your loved one moves in will be both physically and emotionally taxing on the both of you. However, try your hardest to be there for them, or have a family member stay. It will make the move much easier if there is a comforting and familiar face with them the entire time. If the day seems like too much to handle, take a deep breath and do your best to shift to a positive outlook. Remember that here your loved one will get the attention and care that they need. Positivity will be one of your greatest allies while adjusting.
After the first day, you can begin setting up some sort of routine with your loved one. Take some time to lay the groundwork of when you will visit and call. Of course this is not set in stone, but it will be a great comfort to you and them if there is a tentative plan in place. If your loved one seems down and is making negative comments, talk to them, show your appreciation and make it clear that you are not trying to push them out of your life. It may also help if you engage in activities with them, which can be as simple as going for a walk around the facility or grabbing some coffee.
The important thing is to stay as positive as possible around your loved one. If they have concerns or questions that you cannot answer, you can always turn to your family, friends and the facility staff for guidance and comfort. Do not feel obligated to defend your decision to the people you are talking to. The move is just as emotionally draining for you, and you should not share any more than you feel comfortable sharing.
Making Your Loved One Feel At Home
It is important to help your loved one feel comfortable and at home in their new surroundings. The first and most simple way to do this is to make sure they have all their important personal effects from home. Simple things like photographs and mementos from friends and family can do wonders and make anywhere seem like home. It is also helpful to discuss the routine of the facility with them, familiarizing them with what will happen on a day to day basis will make everything feel less strange and reduce any anxious feelings that they are having.
When it comes to making a new place seem homey, it is all about the little things. Walking with your loved one around the facility, sharing a meal with them, making sure their things are arranged in a way that makes them feel happy are all things you can do to make the adjustment more fluid. Reassure your loved one, try to address any concerns they may have and once again, keep a positive perspective as much as possible.
Communication With The Staff
Facility staff will be among your greatest allies. The more you communicate with them, the higher the quality you will be able to make your loved one’s stay. Be sure to meet the people who will be taking care of your loved one. They are about to become an important part of their life and it will help if you know them by name.
The staff is an invaluable resource. The more you tell them about your loved one, the more specialized the care that can be provided. Tell the new caregivers about your loved one’s routine before they transitioned. They will do their best to keep things as natural as possible for them. You can also ask about activities and events that are offered and clue them in to your loved ones interests and hobbies.
Give the staff lists of personal preferences such as your loved one’s favorite music, snacks and games. This will be comforting and will establish a pleasant and amiable environment. Remember, the more the staff knows about your loved one, the easier it will be to start friendly conversations with them. Natural conversation from the staff will absolutely make your loved one feel more comfortable.
Staying In Touch
You may be worried about staying in contact with your loved one. How can you know if you’re vising too much or not calling often enough? Well the best thing to do is trust your gut. No one knows your loved one better than you do, and you can use your own discretion for visits and phone calls. If you feel like you are too busy and are not making the proper amount of time for your loved one, then do your best to call them. Explain your situation to them; make sure there is an open line of communication between the two of you.
The transition into an assisted living facility will be hard on both you and your loved one, but you can make the transition easier with simple steps. Stay positive, stay in communication with them and the staff and make sure their personal things are set up in the most comforting way possible. Be as open with your loved one as possible. Do your best to answer their questions and turn to the staff when you feel like you need help and this trying time will be much gentler on everyone involved.
Updated: March 28, 2014