Whether you’re a senior living on your own or you’re the adult child or caregiver of a senior, the conversation about a move to an assisted living community may be in your future. Through thoughtful discussion and preparation, seniors can experience a smooth transition from independent living to enjoying the comforts of home at an assisted living center that provides supportive residential and healthcare services.
Indications It’s Time for Assisted Living
How do you know when the time is right for a conversation about assisted living? These eight signs that it’s time for assisted living can provide guidance:
• Neglected household tasks: overflowing trash, clutter, laundry piles, spoiled food
• Poor personal care: unkempt appearance, lack of bathing, dirty clothes
• Personality changes: withdrawal from friends, social activities, or hobbies
• Safety issues: reduced mobility, increased falling, improper management of medications, leaving the stove on
• Changes in eating habits: weight loss and disinterest in eating, weight gain from overeating, spoiled food, over-purchasing of redundant items
• Cognitive decline: increased confusion, poor decision making, forgetfulness
• Driving issues: unexplained dents, lane drifting, traffic tickets, tailgating, driving too slow
• Financial struggles: unpaid bills or bills paid multiple times, overdrawn bank accounts, notices or calls from creditors
If your loved one shows any of these signs, begin a discussion about assisted living.
Planning a Productive Conversation
Many seniors are reluctant to move to an assisted living community because they fear losing their independence and leaving their home behind. Discussing the topic before it becomes a critical issue can help ease seniors into making the decision. Try these tips for a thoughtful discussion about assisted living:
• Research senior housing options: Before the discussion, become familiar with senior housing choices where your loved one lives or where he or she might relocate. Understand your loved one’s financial situation and what he or she can afford.
• Understand your senior’s uncertainty and fears: Acknowledge a senior’s worries about leaving a longtime home. Stress that moving to assisted living doesn’t mean they lose control of their lives, but the new living arrangement can instead free up their time to do things they enjoy instead of worrying about housekeeping, laundry, and cooking.
• Create an ongoing discussion: Broach the topic in a conversational tone and a comfortable, nonthreatening space. Understand that decisions should be made over time as your loved one warms to the idea of assisted living. Don’t force immediate decisions.
• Keep your senior involved: Take your loved one to visit friends or relatives in assisted living centers and invite your senior to tour senior living communities with you. Talk to residents about their experiences.
• Understand the progression of an illness: If your senior has a progressive illness that will reduce his or her ability to perform self-care, discuss how services provided in a long-term care setting could be beneficial and improve quality of life.
Preparing for the Move
As soon as you and your senior loved one have decided that an assisted living community is the best choice and you have selected a community that is a good match for your senior’s needs, make preparations for the move. Determine if the community provides any furniture and ask for a list of suggested items to bring. Actively involve your loved one in deciding which furniture, personal items, and clothes to take with them. Donate other items to family, friends, or social service groups. Be sure to bring prized possessions that will make your senior feel at home, and encourage them to participate in arranging items in their new home.
Fostering a Successful Transition
Leaving a longtime home and moving to a senior community that provides support services can be an emotional journey for everyone involved: seniors, family members, and friends. For a smooth transition to assisted living, follow these helpful tips:
Advice for new residents:
• Meet the community director and staff before moving in
• Become familiar with residence policies and read all community materials before arriving
• Review the activity schedule and select two or three programs to participate in to meet other residents right away
• Make an effort to introduce yourself to other residents
• Take advantage of opportunities to socialize
• Stay busy and participate in activities to help you feel comfortable quickly
Advice for loved ones and friends:
• Help with sorting, packing, and moving if asked
• Be sympathetic if your loved one misses items left behind
• Recognize that the move represents a major change
• Call and visit often, especially during the first few weeks
• Don’t rush into talking about selling your senior’s home
• Be positive, supportive, patient, and understanding
Assisted Living at Courville Communities
The assisted living centers at Courville Communities provide seniors with the assistance they need to live as independently as possible while enjoying the comforts of home. Our residents enjoy comfortable residences, a wide selection of programs and social activities, award-winning dining, on-site therapy services, and access to 24/7 nursing care and assistance.