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6 Tips to Ensure a Loved One’s Smooth Transition to Assisted Living

6 Tips to Ensure a Loved One’s Smooth Transition to Assisted Living The decision has finally been made. Your family has agreed that it’s time for your loved one to move to assisted living. You’ve done your homework, toured a number of communities and chosen what you hope will be the perfect home for your loved one. You’re ready to move forward. But now what? How can you help ease the transition for your family member?

  1. Help your loved one select items that are important to them to bring along. Talk with your family member about what they’d like to bring to decorate their new home.  Many families want to furnish their suites with brand new furniture. That’s okay!  Just be sure to bring along some familiar items to make your loved one feel at home as well.  Your dad’s favorite chair might be worn and in less than stellar condition, but imagine how at home he will feel relaxing in it every day after lunch. Try to keep in mind that appearance is not as important as your loved one’s overall sense of familiarity and comfort.  
  2. If possible, move your loved ones belongings in a day or two before he or she arrives.  This way, when your family member’s big day finally arrives, you won’t have to worry about running last minute errands or assembling furniture.  Instead, you’ll be able to spend the day focused solely on your loved one, and helping him or her settle in.
  3. Bring your loved one to several meals or activities in the community before they physically move-in. The more time you both spend in the community before your loved one moves-in, the better.  Visiting the community before your family member moves-in, helps to eliminate the fear of the unknown.  
  4. Before your loved one moves-in to the community, bring him or her in to visit with the team members.  Introduce her to the Executive Director, Health Care Coordinator and most importantly, the designated care managers who she’ll be seeing on a daily basis. This is another opportunity to help your loved one become more familiar with her future home.
  5. As your loved one’s moving day approaches, be sure to talk about all of the positive aspects of assisted living.  Focus on the opportunities your family member will have to make new friends, participate in activities and enjoy wonderful meals. Ask for an activities calendar and point out the events you know your loved one will most enjoy. Speaking positively about the move will help your loved one to focus on what they will gain from moving to assisted living.
  6. Schedule specific days and times when you’ll be coming to visit.  It’s not uncommon for seniors to worry that their families will bring them to a community and not come back to visit often. Schedule some specific days when you know you’ll be able to come to the community that your loved one can plan on. If memory loss is an issue, consider bringing a guest book for family members and friends to sign when they visit as well. Knowing when to expect your visits will help your loved one feel more at ease.  

The move to assisted living can feel daunting for seniors and family members alike. But with a little bit of planning and a positive attitude, the transition can be smoother for everyone.

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