Transitioning to Senior Assisted Living

 In Senior Living Insights and Advice

Q: If my mother moves to an assisted living community; who helps her meet people and get settled?  It seems overwhelming for her to learn the ropes at her age.

A: Moving to a new assisted living community is as challenging for families, as well as for their loved ones. Supportive families can help make this a positive experience and as a rule, it is typical that it takes approximately 30-45 days for someone to adjust to their new environment and schedule.

We work very hard at Victoria Landing to help someone transition and feel comfortable living here.  Here are a few tips I recommend to our families that could be helpful for you and your mother.

Preparing for Moving

  1. Read all the materials the community provides to be familiar with their policies, regulations and requests;
  2. Try to meet the executive director and several staff members so you know their names before moving;
  3. Plan in advance for moving so moving day is less stressful;
  4. Find out what assistance may be provided for moving in furniture or other heavy items and the best time to arrive;
  5. Ask if staff will help unpack or hang pictures—what help will be provided.

Furniture

  1. Ask what furniture is needed and select whatever furnishings will make someone feel comfortable. Perhaps it is a favorite lounge chair or writing desk;
  2. Since the apartment is probably smaller than one’s current home, it may be good to put furniture in storage or give larger items to relatives rather than part with everything all at once;
  3. Bring smaller, prized processions and pictures which can be used to create a personal touch. Picture groupings are more visual pleasing than one lone picture;
  4. Much like furnishing a college dorm room, it may be a nice touch to purchase a new colorful bedspread and throw pillows;
  5. Whatever furniture you are bringing, empty drawers first before moving to lessen the weight and clutter.

Clothing

  1. Since closet and drawer space is limited, it’s helpful to bring color coordinated clothes and avoid duplicates such as coats and sweaters;
  2. Bring comfortable lounging clothes for days that mom may just want to stay comfortable;
  3. If using storage, different clothes or seasonal items can be retrieved;
  4. If the community is providing laundry services, plan to label clothing;
  5. Ladies may want to bring favorite accessories such as scarves, pins and necklaces.

More advice

  1. Stay involved with your family member. Keep in touch regularly. Your loved one doesn’t want to be treated differently now that they have a new address. You can still do things together and share special time;
  2. Try to share in activities at the community that are family events;
  3. Read the community’s newsletter and Facebook and use this information to have interesting conversations with your loved one by asking about a special gathering (for example, how they enjoyed the musician or movie);
  4. Call and visit often during the first few weeks and help in any way that you can. Join them for meals and meet other residents;
  5. Be supportive of this life decision and be positive showing that you care and understand their emotions;
  6. If they have difficulty and want to return home, encourage them to try to get comfortable for a few more weeks and give it a chance.

Moving and change is difficult at any age and talking with your loved ones is one of the best ways to create comfort and security.
At Victoria Landing we encourage all of our families to participate in any of our many activities.# # #

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