Tips for Seniors Moving Into Assisted Living
When it’s time for your aging parent or relative to move into an assisted living facility it can be a very emotional and stressful time. In most cases, our loved ones haven’t downsized yet and are still living in the original family home. This can be even more stressful as they will now need to part with a large portion of their belongings. Belongings that hold memories and have meaning. Here are some tips for helping your loved ones downsize and transition into assisted living.
Your Words are Powerful
When you’re packing and deciding what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away you need to be sensitive to the feelings of your loved one and watch the words you use. Try not to say things like “why do you still have this?” You need to understand that even though that item might not mean anything to you or looks old and broken it still holds meaning and memories to your loved one. Your loved one may have also lived through some historic events such as the great depression which could cause them to hold onto things well after they should. It’s best to approach these situations with sensitivity and compassion.
When downsizing, especially if the difference in the size of the space is significant, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and get a layout of the new place. With Senior Living Experience, this is part of our process. We will get a layout of your current home so that we can place your furniture relatively in the same way so it makes the move a little easier for your loved ones and they feel a little more at home. We will also help you get rid of your “unwanted” items and take them wherever you would like.
Avoid Getting Overly Sentimental
This process is already hard enough on your loved one so when going through those old boxes in the garage try not to get too emotional when you find those childhood treasures. Your loved one is taking cues from you and will follow your lead.
When deciding what to keep, what to give away, and what to toss it’s not always easy and simple. If your loved one is hesitating and needing some time to decide that’s ok. Let them take the time they need, put it aside and move onto the next thing.
Highlight the Positive
If you sense your loved one is starting to feel overwhelmed or stressed or is starting to spiral, acknowledge their feelings but then remind them of the positive. Remind them of the positive changes in this transition and all the good things that lie ahead. Like the new friends they’ll make, the activities they enjoy that are offered at the assisted living facility, and the fewer responsibilities they’ll have to worry about.
Most assisted living facilities offer brochures that use bright colours, eye-catching pictures, and bold print. Display a few of these around the home so that it can serve as a reminder to your loved one of the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead.
If your loved one is a giver and loves making donations to various charities suggest to them that they can donate their things to a charity. Senior Living Experience has partnered with a charity that will take things that you’re unable to take with you.
Create Something Special
For those extra special memorabilia like photo albums or unique mementos from the grandkids, make sure you have a special and easily accessible space for them at their new home. And for those larger items you might want to think about a storage unit or maybe even store them at your place.
Get a Professional
If you’re really having a hard time with all the packing and purging consider hiring a professional, like Senior Living Experience. We have a service that will help you pack for the move, move the boxes for you, then even help you unpack at your new place.
At the end of the day leaving your home to move into an assisted living community is hard. It’s hard to leave a place you’ve lived in, raised your family in, made a life in, to now move into a space that’s no longer solely yours and where you don’t have the independence as before. We need to approach these situations with kindness and compassion.