Tips to help your loved one adjust to a senior living community

Tips to help your loved one adjust to a senior living community

Moving a loved one, even a willing one, into a senior living facility can be tricky. Like any big life change it takes some getting used to.

For some people they may see it as an opportunity to meet new people or explore new things. For others it is difficult, and they may mourn the loss of independence and their younger years. They may be scared – about aging or making new friends.

You may be second-guessing your decision or feel guilty.

Know that everyone needs some time to adjust and the first few months will be the most challenges.

Tips to help a senior adjust

 Keep the lines of communication flowing. Only you know your loved one and their preferences but call and visit more often in the beginning. It might be easier for them to meet new people if they have someone with them.

Send flowers or deliveries every so often. Receiving mail is a great way to show you care and that you are thinking of them, especially when you can’t visit.

Help them make their room their own. Pictures of loved ones, familiar furniture and their favorite blankets and pillows will make it feel like home.  You may be tempted buy some new things, especially technology, but that can be overwhelming.

Give it time – It takes about 6 months to adjust and sometimes there are setbacks. Recognize that it can be difficult but remind yourself and your loved one why you made the decision you did.  Acknowledge your loved one’s feelings and listen to their concerns.

Keep them active. If possible, try to maintain ties to their favorite activities or places; a restaurant, hair salon, or church. As well, make it possible for them to find new favorites; join a club, learn a new game or make a new friend.

Be their advocate. The staff should be a part of your support team. No place is perfect, and you should feel comfortable speaking up, asking for help and even offering suggestions.  You know your loved one best – talk to the staff about any concerns that you have and don’t be shy to ask for help.

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