Quality of life in assisted living
If your parent needs a little additional help in their day, you may be exploring different options for assistance. The right choice for many families is an assisted living community, as it can provide the most comprehensive help for their loved ones to continue living a quality life while maintaining a degree of independence.
Benefits of assisted living
Consider the many advantages of senior living community life that your parents will enjoy, and imagine how each can offer any needed support:
- Private residence
- Independent lifestyle
- Assistance with the activities of daily living
- Nutritious and delicious meals
- Planned activities and social events
- Opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Support for physical and cognitive health
- Scheduled transportation
- Safe and secured community
How to help your parent feel at home in assisted living
After deciding on a specific community and selecting a move-in date, the family will be busy getting ready for the move. But one of the most important steps you can take is to make sure your parents will be comfortable in their new place.
The following 10 tips can help them know they made the right decision and are once again feeling like they’re at home:
- Choose the right community for them
It all begins with selecting the right community. Helping your parents find the place that they will be comfortable calling home is the first step.Educate yourself and your parents on the key elements to look for. Each community can be different, so it may help to define what features are most important and then strive to find them, such as location, amenities or floorplans.
- Your parents should make the decision
Unless your parents cannot make this choice, it should be their decision to make. This will be their home and it’s important they choose where to live. If they feel pressured or rushed, they may hesitate to leave their home. Get off on the right foot by supporting them with information and suggestions, but make sure they know this is their decision.
- Help your parents prioritize what they want
How do your parents define what home means to them? Ask what is most important. Don’t forget to talk about the logistics and the practical. What floor would they want to live on if it’s a multistory community? Is a certain view important or is it preferable to be closer to the lobby or dining room? Will they have access to religious services or is transportation available?
- Bring favorites from home
Recreating a cozy room can accelerate the feeling of being home in assisted living. You’ll likely be decorating a smaller space but try to bring their favorite reading chair or sofa. Remember a warm and inviting throw or comforter for their bed to encourage a good night’s sleep. If they always loved music or fresh flowers, make sure to have that waiting when they first arrive.
- Find ways to personalize the residence
Everyone’s home is different and reflects those who live there. Help your parents choose which items will personalize their home to truly make it their very own. It might include framed photographs of family or memories of celebrations. Or a selection of a few mementos from favorite vacations or artwork created by their grandchildren.
- Visit often
Older adults often express concern that they’ll no longer receive visitors if they move into a community. It’s important to help them understand this won’t happen. They will have their own apartment and can entertain visitors as they choose. They’ll soon be making new friends, but let them know you’ll still be coming by. Encourage other family members and friends to visit as well.
- Be a good listener
Most people struggle with change. Making a move is one of life’s major transitions no matter what the age so be sensitive to any emotions that your parents might be feeling. Encourage them to express concerns they may have and understand that they may not feel positive immediately after the move.
- Help them adjust
If they seem more anxious after arriving, spend a little extra time with them. While it’s true that your parents will need to adjust to their new life environment, it doesn’t have to occur all at once. Gently help them separate from their old home and encourage them to take advantage of all the benefits in their new community. Help them know you’re there to support this transition.
- Give them time
It takes time to adjust to different surroundings so be sure to encourage your parents to go a little easy on themselves. Help them set realistic expectations of how the first few days and weeks will go. If expectations are too high, they may feel that they failed without giving it enough time.
- Talk to the care team
If your parents continue to struggle with adjusting or are still expressing concerns or unhappiness after time has passed, it’s a good idea to talk to the care team for their suggestions or recommendations. They are very experienced in how to help their residents make the transition and can offer valuable insight.
Life at a Northbridge community
We understand the early challenges your parents may face when moving into an assisted living community and we hope the above suggestions might help to make them feel more at home.
If they could use a helping hand while continuing to live an independent life, we hope you’ll consider one of our Northbridge assisted living communities.
We offer innovative and quality senior living solutions across the New England area, creating both home environments and programs to encourage freedom and lifestyle choices. Our goal is to support your loved one to live life to the fullest.
We’re here to answer any of your questions about our senior living communities. If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, we also invite you to download our complimentary guide, the Family Decision Toolkit.