As our parents and loved ones age, we are often faced with difficult questions of how to care for them and ensure that they have the absolute best quality of life. There are many living options for seniors, including residence at an assistant living facility. A move to assisted living has many benefits like safe and caring living environments, healthy meals, social opportunities, and healthy moves. The decision to move to assisted living may be complicated, but once it is decided, there are other considerations before your family member is comfortable in their new residence.
Among other concerns, there are many emotions that come up when a senior is faced with leaving a home they have lived in for a long period of time. The prospect of leaving can be difficult for the entire family as they are faced with a lifetime of memories. But, while the emotions may be bittersweet, moving to assisted living doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Here are a few tips to make the transition as smooth and worry-free as possible:
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Taking the proper time to prepare for a move is essential to a pleasant transition. It can take a couple of month of planning to deal with all of the items and emotions. Take the time to carefully evaluate what is in your senior family members home. You will have to decide which items will be moved, which will be passed on to family members, and the items that will be sold, donated or disposed of. Be respectful, compassionate, and understanding, recognizing that sentimental items may be difficult to part with. The prospect of donation may bring some comfort in knowing that someone else will benefit from the gift.
Take the time to have all of your decisions made before moving day comes and that you have the proper supplies. Research and schedule a reputable moving company, purchase boxes and packing supplies, and consult with your chosen assisted living facility. Not only will the facility have certain requirements and restrictions, but they may also have helpful resources available.
In this transition, emotional preparation is just as important as physical. Recognize that while there may be sadness, there will also be joy and new opportunities. Spend some time with your senior loved one in their home before the packing begins. Reminisce about everything their home has been to them over the years. You may even consider having a celebration where friends and families can share in the memories and delight in the future to come.
Once everything is organized, it is time to begin the actual moving process. To keep from becoming overwhelmed, pack one room at a time. Finish a room before moving to the next, which gives you many small goals on the way to the final goal of a successful move. Whether you choose to use a moving company or are able to do it yourself, be present on moving day to ensure that treasured items are appropriately cared for.
The move is over and now it’s time to help your loved one settle into their new home. Assist in the unpacking and add sentimental items to the space to make it feel cozy and home-like. Spend some extra time with them in those first days and weeks and consider joining them for meals and activities. Even if your loved one has lived in their new place for a long time, they will always be glad for you to visit.