Having to leave the home you've loved for years and move into a new one is tough enough, but changing your entire lifestyle, from independent to assisted living can be quite a challenge for anyone. While nursing homes and assisted living are often a necessary part of life, adjusting to them means giving up so much of the familiar and entering into a new and drastically different environment. Don't let an elderly relative you love face this change alone, even if you lead a busy life and barely have time to make meals and do laundry. Taking the extra time to help will mean all the difference in the world.
1. Tell All Friends And Relatives About The New Home
While you don't want to overwhelm your elderly relative moving into assisted living with a bunch of visitors at once, you do want to make sure they don't feel as if life is passing them by and everyone has forgotten about them. Ask for cards and letters to be sent to the new address and whenever possible, in-person visits should be scheduled.
2. Make The Transition With Your Elderly Relative
Help with the unpacking and arranging of furniture, so your relative doesn't feel "dumped". As carefully as the facility was chosen for its kind and nurturing staff, that doesn't mean anyone wants to be dropped off with a "Hope it all works out!". Stay and reassure them that the new home is a good idea and tell them the different ways in which you think it will benefit them. Go over checklists with them, too, to ensure that everything has been taken care of according to their wishes.
3. Create A Personal Experience In The New Home
Some nursing homes and assisted living facilities might look a little clinical, which means you all have some decorating to do. Ask grandchildren to break out the crayons, creating new art for the new place. Put pictures up on windowsills and toss a favorite crocheted blanket on the end of the bed. Making it look and feel familiar will help with the adjustment, along with giving the place a personal and cheerful look.
4. Schedule Family Visiting With As Many Relatives And Friends As Possible
Even if you have to make a few stops on the way, picking up others on your way to visit the new home, gather up as many friends and family members as possible. You want your elderly relative to know people are thinking of them, checking up on them and willing to come out to see them. Don't just make this happen immediately after they move in, either, try to keep up the visits for as long as possible.
5. Encourage Participation In Activities, Both Physical And Social
Physical exercise is healthy for elders, but it will also work to keep them social. Get a schedule from the activity director (of the assisted living facility) and hang it up in the room of your relative. Circle activities in red that look particularly interesting and volunteer to come and join in the activity, if that's what it takes to get your relative involved.
6. Help Your Elderly Relative Stay In Touch
Always leave behind plenty of stamps and envelopes and if needed, a cell phone with plenty of minutes for calls and texts. A cell phone will help preserve a feeling of independence and allow anyone to call and say hello, without going through a desk.
Because your relative is going through so many changes when moving to an assisted living facility, they need more of your support than ever. Try to enlist the help of others, so you're not burdened by all the responsibilities, but do whatever it takes to make this a healthy and happy time. Include the staff at the new facility in your plans and call on them when you have questions or suggestions. That will mean everyone working together on behalf of the new resident, hopefully making this an awesome new experience all around. Contact a facility, like Mayfair Village Retirement Community, for more help.