Five Tips for Transitioning to Assisted Living
For many seniors, the thought of moving to a new home in an assisted living community is an intimidating one. Resistance to the idea is very common as it’s a big adjustment, filled with worries and anxiety – which is perfectly natural! Even when the decision is in their very best interests, it can stir up a lot of “what if” scenarios. What if this isn’t the right choice for me? What if I don’t receive the right care? What if I don’t meet any new friends?
If you’re unsure about how to calm your parents’ worries about community life, here are some tips on how to manage the process of moving to assisted living.
#1 – Find the right senior community
Research is everything when you’re looking for an assisted living community that’s the right fit for your parent. It’s important to look online and visit in person while considering the following aspects:
- If the community is a good fit for your parent’s interests and personality
- If the location is ideal in terms of proximity to your loved one’s family and friends
- If the community can cater to their present and future care needs
- The cleanliness and maintenance of the buildings and gardens
- The professionalism, friendliness, and helpfulness of the staff
- The cost of services and the community’s pricing model
#2 – Try it out in person
First, visit the assisted living community of your choice on your own or with a friend or family member. Evaluate it from your loved one’s eyes, as well as your own to see how well they are suited to the community. Consider what they would like most about it, and how the care services and amenities would benefit them. Then, if it’s possible, tour it with your parents after talking to them about it. Make it a calm and relaxing visit where they can ask questions, see the living arrangements for themselves, have a meal, and talk with other residents.
If it’s suitable, you may be able to introduce them to the community on a trial basis by utilizing their onsite respite care services. Through respite, they will live in the community as if they are full-time residents, getting appropriate care services, participating in events, and trying out the amenities for themselves.
#3 – Give your parents a sense of control
The process of moving into assisted living can make your parents feel as if they are giving up their independence and control over their lives, so it’s important to encourage them to participate in the selection and moving process as much as possible. For example, they can choose how their apartment is decorated, and what personal items will be kept or sold, and you can take them shopping to choose new items for the space.
It’s also important to read through the services beforehand and have them weigh in on optional services (for example, more independent seniors may still want to cook their own food rather than eat all of their meals in the restaurant). Write up a calendar of when housekeeping services occur, introduce them to the associates who will care for them, and let them choose activities and events to sign up for.
Also, keep reassuring them about the positive aspects of the move, that you will be there to help them settle in, and that you and other loved ones will visit frequently.
#4 – Pack carefully and methodically
Set priorities for what should be packed and try to stagger the moving process. If possible, have a moving service assist you and have your parents stay at a loved one’s house while you get everything ready. After repainting or making any changes to the new apartment, move in any appropriate heavy furniture first, followed by important items like toiletries, medication, clothing, linen, and small appliances. Then, add decorative touches that make it feel like home, including photographs, artwork, and sentimental antiques.
While you are packing, plan to cancel services to the house (utilities, telephone, internet, and cable) and add their new address for bank accounts, credit cards, subscriptions, and other mail. Remember to keep records of all moving expenses, as they’re tax-deductible.
#5 – Celebrate this new stage of life together
Moving to a great assisted living community like The Shores is nothing to be sad about! Like any move, you should celebrate this new stage of life with your parents. Organize a fun family movie night at their apartment, bring everyone along to participate in community events, and explore the amenities together. This is a big move for your parents, but it’s one that delivers great quality of life and care, so take it slow and help them settle in however you can. One great idea is to have friends and family to drop in on a regular basis, which will give your parents a lot to look forward to and make them feel secure in this decision.
Visit UMC at The Shores and see how wonderful assisted living can be!
The Shores is a beautiful community offering assisted living in South Jersey. Our team is passionate about helping seniors live full and rewarding lives in a safe and welcoming environment. With a great calendar of events and social activities, some of the best dining in town, and spacious apartment-style living, we’re the best place to be for senior living.
To find out more about assisted living at The Shores, give us a call or visit our website at