Moving to an assisted living community in Texas is often a daunting prospect for aging seniors and family caregivers alike. While seniors may feel excited about the new opportunities assisted living can present, they might also worry about losing contact with loved ones, or that they won’t settle in and make friends in their new senior care community.
Family caregivers may feel relieved that their parent will be able to access constant support and enjoy their retirement in a less hazardous environment. On the flipside, they might feel apprehensive about whether they have made the right decision, or wonder how quickly their parent or loved one will adapt to downsizing and living in a different setting.
Aging seniors and family caregivers often experience a spectrum of both positive and negative emotions during the move to assisted living, and worries about how a senior will adjust are common. Thankfully, there are a few simple things family caregivers can do to make the transition to assisted living a little easier.
Here are our top 5 tips to help your loved one quickly adjust to assisted living!
1. Visit Based on Their Needs
It’s easy to generalize and recommend regular visits, but as their family caregiver, you know your loved one best. While many seniors do benefit from seeing their children or loved ones regularly after moving to senior care, others thrive with a little more independence. For example, if you know your loved one is worried about being left alone, regular visits may be just the reassurance they need.
Alternatively, if they are calling constantly and only leaving their apartment when you visit, it might be best to give them a few weeks of independence. It could be the encouragement they need to broaden their horizons and explore the community without relying on you. Speak with the staff about how your loved one is adjusting and keep a close eye on how he or she reacts to your visits and adapt your approach accordingly.
2. Surround Them with Familiar Objects
One of the best ways to avert homesickness is to make an aging senior’s assisted living apartment feel like home. You may wish to bring along some treasured items of furniture – like a coffee table they particularly love, or a dresser that has been with them since they were young. Encourage them to take an active role in arranging their space, too.
Ensure they have their favorite books, puzzles, and home comforts on hand – why not create family photo albums for your loved one to take with them? This could be an excellent constant reminder of the support system they have and the people who love them, should they ever find themselves feeling a little lonely.
3. Keep in Touch
It’s common for aging seniors to worry about being forgotten by loved ones when they move to a senior care setting. The best way to avert this fear is to make sure you stay in contact throughout the transition period and beyond. Keeping in touch might involve regular visits, but this isn’t always possible (or helpful, initially).
If you live a distance away or wish to give your loved one time to explore their community independently, make technology your best friend. Before the move, teach them how to use an instant messaging service, or video calling apps like Facetime and Zoom. Call regularly, and make sure they know they can also call you when they need to.
4. Speak to Staff Members
Assisted living teams soon get to know their residents, but as their family caregiver, you can give them a valuable head start. Does your loved one like to wake up, go to sleep or have their morning coffee at a specific hour? Do they enjoy reading a newspaper or taking a walk in their free time, or is there something specific they like to eat for dinner?
Don’t be afraid to speak up. As assisted living caregivers, our ultimate goal is to help our residents continue to live the life they love (and more!) Particularly in those initial days, weeks and months, family caregivers are a vital source of wisdom, allowing us to help new residents stay in touch with the habits and routines they thrive on.
5. Take care of Yourself
While a move to assisted living in TX is often difficult for seniors, it can also be challenging for family caregivers. When dedicating your time and energy to helping your loved one settle in, don’t neglect your own feelings. It might sound like an old cliché, but one of the best ways you can support your loved one is to take good care of yourself. Are you getting sufficient sleep? Are you eating well and making time to exercise? Do you have a strong support system of your own?
Senior care communities themselves often become a great source of support for family caregivers. Assisted living staff, as well as the family members of your loved one’s friends and neighbors all understand the range of emotions you might be feeling. Whether it’s a caregiver from the community or a trusted friend or family member, make sure you have someone who can offer the perspective, reassurance and support you need.
To find out more about Argent Court’s dedication to supporting seniors as they adjust to life in our vibrant assisted living community, get in touch and arrange a personalized tour today!