Packing up and moving away from a home you’ve lived in for many years can be emotional, as can helping a senior loved one make such a move. When an older adult transitions to a senior living community, the change can bring many conflicting emotions. Sadness, fear, excitement, and uncertainty are just a few of the feelings seniors may find themselves experiencing.
The key to making a smooth transition is preparing for both good and bad days and setting realistic expectations for the first few months after the move.
Setting Realistic Expectations for a Transition to Senior Living
Moving to a senior living community is a major lifestyle change. Even when an older adult is excited to become a part of the community, there will likely be bumps along the way.
Our first tip is to head into this move with realistic expectations and to remember that some days will be better than others during the first few months.
Here are some additional steps that can help ease the transition:
- Visit often before moving day: Moving from a private home to a senior living community can be overwhelming. Becoming familiar with the environment ahead of time can make the transition a little easier. Visit the community several times before moving day. Learn how to get from the senior’s apartment to the dining room and to the lobby together. This can help ease some of the fear your loved one might be experiencing.
- Attend meals and activities ahead of the move: For many older adults, the social opportunities senior communities offer are one of the primary reasons they chose to move. Getting involved before [LM1] the move can help reinforce that the senior made the right decision. Talk with staff about joining in a few activities and coming for lunch or dinner a few times a week.
- Create a visitor schedule: During the first month or two after the move, set up a visitor calendar. Have friends and family sign up for different days and times. You can do that for free online through a private Facebook group or a platform like Google Drive. This approach helps ensure the senior has consistent visitors throughout the week. Be sure to balance visitors with alone time to encourage the older adult to get involved in community events and activities.
- Plan a housewarming party: Another good idea is to plan a housewarming party to give your family member an opportunity to show off their new place. This also allows old friends to meet new ones. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated, either. Just punch and cookies served in the community’s private dining room is more than enough for a fun get-together.
We hope these tips help the older adult in your family settle into their new home as quickly as possible.
Listen to The Senior Caregiver Podcast
If you are searching for a senior community for an older adult in your life, you might be interested in The Senior Caregiver podcast. This episode, titled “How to Find the Right Senior Living Community,” explores the emotional side of this process and offers more tips to help with your search.
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