How to Make a Successful Transition to Assisted Living

Sunrise Senior Living  |  March 29, 2019
How to Make a Successful Transition to Assisted Living
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If you or a senior loved one is preparing to move to an assisted living community, you might be a little overwhelmed. With so many details to handle and decisions to make, it’s easy to understand why. Even if you feel confident you are making a move that best fits your needs, you may still experience anxiety.

As your family prepares for this new chapter in life, we have a few suggestions to help the transition go more smoothly.

4 Tips for Making a Smooth Transition to Assisted Living

1. Don’t try to downsize the house in a hurry.

It is easy to underestimate how exhausting it is to downsize a home you’ve lived in for years. You’ll probably have to sell some belongings in an estate or garage sale, donate unneeded items to charity, and pack the things that will be going with you or the senior. That takes time.

If you or your older family member has lived in the house for a long time, parting ways with it can be emotional. Giving yourselves time to reminisce as you sort through family photos and mementos can make this time more meaningful and positive for everyone.

Unless this move is being made amid a crisis, don’t try to downsize the whole house in a weekend. Setting more realistic goals can help you avoid unnecessary stress and potential family squabbles.

2. Get involved in activities before moving day.

Moving can be difficult at any age, but especially for older adults. Seniors moving to assisted living sometimes worry that their friends and family will forget about them.

One way to ease into this new life is getting involved with the community’s life enrichment activities before moving day. It’s a great way to meet the new neighbors and learn your way around.

3. Plan carefully for moving day.

Start the transition off right by planning ahead for moving day. Create a box of necessities, such as a coffee pot, filters, and coffee. Also put together a suitcase with valuables, medications, toiletries, and other personal care items you’ll need right away.

Some seniors find it helpful to designate a loved one or hire a senior move manager to oversee the movers. Then, the older adult is free to get lunch or head over to the assisted living community while the movers pack up.

4. Make the new apartment look like home.

It can be tempting to sell your current belongings and buy new, especially if you are moving a long distance. But that can make it harder to settle into your new home. Having an apartment that looks and feels familiar may make it easier to settle in and feel at home.

Try to decorate the new apartment with favorite furniture and décor. A favorite chair to watch television in, family photos, and other treasures can make the new place feel like home from the first day.

Our final suggestion is to accept that there will be ups and downs during this transition. As is true of any major lifestyle change, give yourself or your senior loved one time to adjust. Our article, “How to Set Realistic Expectations for the First Month after a Move to Senior Living,” can give you more ideas for making a smooth transition to assisted living.