The benefits of moving into a senior living community are many. Not only will residents be able to take advantage of the activities, healthy dining and opportunities to socialize, but the stress for families can lessen as well. There is often great relief from the worry and constant safety concerns of what would happen if an injury or illness occurred at home and no one was there to help.
When families and their loved ones choose the right community and select a move-in date, there are several tasks at hand to complete, including possibly selling a home, downsizing and making the logistical arrangements. However, you’ll also want to consider how you can help your loved one settle into – and begin to truly feel – at home.
Moving to senior living: Tips to help settle in
1. Prepare for the move
The best way to help a loved one settle into their new senior living home is encouraging them to be prepared. Hopefully, they have been able to be an active participant in the decision process and choosing the community. Avoid surprises. Help them understand the timeline and the basic steps that will need to be completed.
2. Talk to the staff about how the first day will go
The staff or director is one of the best resources to help a loved one settle in when moving to senior living. Their knowledge and experience can provide suggestions to make everything go smoother. They will be able to recommend the time of day that is best, what to bring and what’s best to leave behind.
3. Create a genuine home
Your loved ones may find it difficult to leave their existing residence. So it is essential to remember that home is wherever we live and make sure to create that same environment in the community. Bring a few of their favorite belongings, such as a comfortable reading chair, a favorite comforter for the bed and framed photographs of treasured family moments.
4. Unpack the essentials
Try to create a calming and welcoming arrival which will go a long way toward settling in the first few days. When moving into senior living, it’s a good idea to pack a box or two of the essentials – coffee pot, shower supplies, towels and linens. Also, bring a small bag with a change of clothing, grooming supplies and medication so the first days aren’t spent searching for items.
Download our complimentary guide Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.
5. Take a walk
A wonderful way to help ease your loved one when moving to senior living is to take a walk around the community after they are settled into their apartment. This provides time spent together and a chance to refamiliarize themselves with the layout, such as the dining room, fitness center or common areas.
6. Share a meal or join in an activity
You won’t want to over-schedule the early days too much but it can help your loved one settle in quicker if a meal or an activity can be shared with the other residents. This helps spark a feeling of belonging and becoming a part of the community. Join in yourself if this would aid in breaking the ice and make the move to senior living easier.
7. Talk about the positives
If you sense your loved one is hesitant about their new home, it can be helpful to reinforce the positives about the move. If there was a specific challenge they were facing, remind them how much easier it will be now. Tie in a recent struggle with a community’s advantage, such as the help they’ll have now to bathe safely or if they no longer drive, they can arrange transportation with the community.
8. Provide reassurance
One of the most supportive ways to help a loved one settle in when moving to senior living is to reassure them that you will still be there. Some older adults fear that they won’t see their children or friends once they move into a community. Let them know how much you’re looking forward to spending time with them in activities or visits.
9. Be patient
Change can be challenging, and we often try to hurry up the process. However, it takes time to adjust to a new home and get to know the other residents. Remind your loved one and yourself to give it time. View each day as the opportunity to become more comfortable or to try one new thing.
10. Reach out for help if needed
If you feel that your loved one is continuing to struggle with the move to senior living or is still finding it difficult to meet others or participate in the community, reach out to the staff for their suggestions. They are experienced in helping new residents and their families make the transition successfully.
Discover life at a Northbridge community.
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations
We’re here to answer any of your questions. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download our complimentary guide Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.