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Many find the process of moving to be a daunting task. Even more so, the transition to senior living can bring additional emotion and stress. Although your loved one may have moved many times in their life, this move is an entirely different experience. The thought of moving a lifetime of memories from a large home to a small apartment style suite can be overwhelming. But a move to senior living involves much more than coordinating the logistics of the move, it can be an emotionally trying time for your family. To cope with the stress involved in the move, remind yourself that eventually this journey you’re embarking on will lead to an improved quality of life for your loved one. The benefits your family and loved one will experience will reassure you that you are making the right decision.
Work as a team in utilizing all your resources, your senior living community team, physician and family members. Discuss with your loved one your involvement and as a family establish a plan and timeline of how the move will take place. Keep in mind that the thought of downsizing a home will be overwhelming to your loved one. Keep your focus on the items they use on a daily basis, rather than looking at how all their possessions will fit in their new home. Often after the move a senior will feel a sense of relief. Many feel a weight lifted as the thought of dealing with the care of the home and all that it holds has been organized and taken care of for them.
You will likely find yourselves helping to pack and move the items yourself. Rummaging through old photos and reminiscing of memories that took place in your family home may bring the feeling of guilt. Don’t be afraid to ask for help yourself. There are many resources available to help with this transition. You do not have to take this all on yourself. Your team at Sunrise can help give you excellent referrals for local movers and senior relocation specialists who will help you with every step of the move.
Adjusting to a new community and environment can be frightening and all of this coupled with new social interactions is a lot for any senior to adjust to. This adjustment period may take some time, even several months or more. It is crucial that during this time you and your family reassure your loved one and keep an open mind. At Sunrise we see first hand the many ways our resident’s lives improve while in a community. It can be hard to imagine how your loved one will be happy in their new home if they are having difficulty adjusting. Be patient and keep an open mind. The team at the community will work to help your loved one blossom while meeting new friends.
During the transition it is important that as a family you continue to visit and support the move, however too much ‘hand-holding’ may inhibit their independence. Allow your loved one space and time to adjust to their new home and develop new friendships and establish trust within their community.
Focusing on what will be gained rather than the physical items that may be lost will help your loved one and family through this transition. Looking at the big picture and the many benefits that will come with a move to senior living will help you get through the stress of the transition. You will be reassured of your decision once your loved one is settled in their new community and you witness their gained independence and improved quality of life.