Assisted living is a great option if you feel that you can no longer care for your relative or that your relative can no longer care for themselves. Many people don’t fully understand what assisted living means but it is actually a great middle ground between independent living and care homes. Assisted living will provide your relative with all the perks and independence of living solo with the reassurance and expert medical care of a care home. Even though assisted living might seem like a perfect idea, the transition between independent and assisted living can be a tricky one, even for the most stable and secure of people. Many people experience feelings of abandonment and loneliness and it is important to bridge the transition between independent living and assisted living with lots of visits, reassurance and quality time. If you’re thinking that assisted living might be the best option for your elderly relative, then have a read through the following three essential steps to ease the transition and help your relative feel safe, supported and independent.
Involve Them in the Conversation
Even if you think that your elderly relative can’t or won’t benefit from being involved in the discussion, it is important to allow them to be involved in some way. As much as you think that you know what is best for them, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how scary it is to have your future mapped out for you without being allowed to have some input into the conversation. Involving your elderly relative in the conversation could look like allowing them to be in the room when the discussion about moving to assisted living takes place, giving them some brochures to look at and letting them decide which home looks best to them and, of course, if they are capable, simply asking them if they are on board with the decision to move from independent to assisted living. If you’re looking for a great assisted living home that provides the perfect blend of care, comfort and support, then consider Belmont Village Senior Living – they take pride in providing unique assisted living communities which really focus on independence and active living.
Visit the Homes with Them
This is a very important step in making sure that your family member is comfortable with the transition from independent to sheltered living. Many people have preconceptions about what a care home will look like and don’t understand the difference between care homes and assisted living. Explain to your relative that they will have a great deal more freedom with assisted living and that it is designed precisely with the freedoms of the inhabitants in mind. Tell your relative that assisted living will provide them with all the benefits and support of a care home but with the freedom that they would get from living alone.
All assisted living accommodation should provide you with some kind of tour before you sign up to become a part of it. It’s a great idea to tour around various assisted living accommodations with your relative, asking them questions and involving them in discussions about what they do and don’t like about the home. Just as with moving to any new environment, it’s comforting to see where you’ll be moving to. Both you and your elderly relative will find comfort in being able to assess the atmosphere of the home before you commit to living there full time.
Spend Time with Them
When a relative is moved to a care home of any kind, they can often feel abandoned. You want to make sure that your relative is aware that making the transition to assisted living does not mean losing contact with those that they were close to and giving up their current way of life – it simply means being assisted and supported in ways that are integral from their day-to-day wellbeing. To help your relative transition to feeling comfortable in the knowledge that they will have regular visits while being a resident of an assisted living community, consider creating a regular schedule for visiting. You could type this schedule up and put it on the wall of their bedroom so they can look forward to visits, and take comfort in the fact that they know they can count on certain visits from certain friends and family members every week.
When you are at the assisted living community and spending time with them on a visit, try not to act rushed (even if you are!). The last thing you want to do is make your elderly relative think that they might be a burden of any sort. When you’re spending time with them, try and make it special. Maybe you could bring along their favorite board game or puzzle, a book from their newest favorite author or a painting to hang in their room. Spending quality time with your loved one will remind them that they haven’t been forgotten or abandoned. Remember that no two people are the same and some might find the transition to assisted living far more difficult than others. If your relative is having a hard time adjusting, make sure you visit them regularly until they have become a bit more settled. Helping your elderly relative make the transition between independent and assisted living is an important time.
Assisted living might seem like the perfect middle ground and a perfect option for an elderly relative who cannot care for themselves, yet they still desire independence. However, making the move to a new community and area is daunting in itself, not to mention the worries they may have about giving up their independence and losing contact with their family and friends. Make sure you have plenty of thorough conversations with your relatives, involve them in discussions about the next steps, and spend a lot of quality time with them when they first arrive so that they feel comfortable and settled.