Any major life change takes a lot patience and planning. Getting the necessary support from family and friends will make it easier.
Transitioning your elderly loved one into an assisted living community will be one of the major life changes you’ll experience as a family. Having a full understanding of the assisted living process and educating your family about it, can make the transition easier for everyone, especially for your aging loved one.
Here are 8 important things you need to do to ensure that your loved one will have an easy time adjusting to life in an Assisted Living Community:
Discuss the Finances
After choosing an assisted living community that is right for your loved one, the next step should be coming up with a financial plan on how to pay for it. If you have chosen an assisted living community, most likely you’ve already figured out a plan for payment. Most assisted living communities are private pay, meaning the families pay out of pocket for the monthly fees. Long-term Care Insurance is also another payment option, however, not all seniors have this type of insurance.
For low-income families, Medicaid may be their only option. If you are considering Medicaid as the payment option, be sure to contact Medicaid to ensure that your elderly loved one qualifies for this program. If they do, ask them for referrals or for more information regarding facilities that accept Medicaid. Keep in mind that most of the Assisted Living Facilities do not accept Medicaid so it will be best to contact your local Medicaid office for details or consult a social worker.
Tip: Your financial plan should not only include monthly assisted living expenses, but it should also include medical expenses and any other recurring bills as the cost may add up. You may want to consult your accountant or professional financial advisor for assistance.
Make Their New Space Feel Like Home
When you move your loved one into their new assisted living home, try to make the look and feel the same as their old home. Bring family photos and decorate the place with items that will remind them of fun memories. Plan a layout that is comforting and inviting. Be sure to consult the assisted living staff members, if you need to. They will be more than happy to help you design and decorate a comfortable and welcoming space for your elderly loved one.
Tip: Bring items that will remind them of their home- maybe bring their dresser, favorite painting, mantle or a mug that they always use.
Make a Plan to Visit Regularly
Feelings of abandonment can be common without direct encouragement and support, so plan to visit your loved one regularly, especially when they first move in. However due to the current Covid Pandemic, visiting policies may vary. Be sure to contact the assisted living community directly for more information. If there are any visiting restrictions in place, regular FaceTime/Video calls would be a great alternative so you can continue to stay in touch with your loved one
Aside from just saying hello and staying for a few minutes to a few hours, it would be a good idea to join any activities in the community, if possible. Assisted living communities often offer a number of activities which family members are encouraged to join. Contact the assisted living for more information. Try to reach out the Activities Director for details so he/she can find an activity in which you can maybe take part, either physically or virtually. Being involved in different programs and activities in the assisted living community, will help make the transition easier.
Tip: Create a visiting schedule (physical or virtual) among family members and friends. Regular visits and constant communication from people they know will help your senior loved one feel loved at all times, making his/her stay in the assisted living more enjoyable.
Plan Mini Excursions
Assisted living communities usually allow families to take the senior resident out for a day trip. These can include trips to a sports game, museum, restaurants or even the local park for a picnic. If possible, keep holiday traditions the same. If you have always gone to one particular relative’s house for Thanksgiving, continue to do so. If that is no longer possible due to health or other circumstances, bring holiday traditions to them at the assisted living facility. Again, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, be sure to contact the community directly to ask about their policies.
Tip: It would be a good idea to create a weekly or a monthly lunch date or shopping date with your loved one so they have something to look forward to.
While visiting your loved one is very important, the ability for your senior loved one to exist without you is just as important. Assisted living communities encourage socialization among the residents, and you should too. Be sure to encourage your loved one to participate in activities and socialize with other residents in the community. They’ll be surprised to find out that they have a lot in common with the other assisted living residents. This will allow them to make new friends, thus making their stay more enjoyable.
Tip: Talk to the activities director and inform them about your loved one’s hobbies and interests. It will be helpful for staff members to know what activities your loved one enjoy so they can help encourage them to participate in certain activities.
Get to Know the Staff
Getting to know the assisted living community staff members is just as important for you as it is for your senior loved one. Make an effort to talk to the staff members and caregivers. Maybe ask them about their interests or general information about their family. For example, ask them how many kids they have and what their hobbies are. Showing genuine interest in them can help establish connections and develop closer relations.
Tip: Always say hi to the staff members whenever you see them.
Let the Staff Get to Know Your Loved One
During the first few days, your loved one will meet the assisted living staff members. It is the responsibility of the staff to make your loved one feel comfortable and at ease in their new home. Sharing important information about your loved one, like personal interests and hobbies will allow them to get to know your elderly loved one more. Maybe also mention your loved one’s favorite sports teams, music or movies – it will definitely help the caregivers start conversations with them easier, thus developing a more personal relationship with each other.
Tip: Be in constant communication with the assisted living staff members to see how your loved one is doing.
Find Professional Assistance
The process of moving your senior loved one into an assisted living community can be very stressful for them and for you. Don’t be afraid to seek out professional assistance. Healthcare specialists, such as an occupational therapist, can help assess your loved one’s home to see what they need to bring to the Assisted Living community. There are experts who can help with downsizing and packing for the move. Click here to get a list of what things to pack when your loved one makes the assisted living transition.
Professional help can save some unwanted headaches, but the help from personal friends and family can be soothing for your loved one. It’s always a good idea to involve relatives and friends so you can divide the workload, thus making the transition easier.
Tip: Be sure to let your loved one know that you will be there for them during the assisted living transition by helping them every step of the way. Assure them that you will always be available even after the assisted living move.
If you are still unsure and have specific questions about Assisted Living Facility options , contact one of our Expert Senior Care Advisor at 877-523-6523 or click here to search for the senior care facilities in your area. We can provide you with Free, Personalized Care Options including Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care community options.
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