Planning to Enroll in Assisted Living? Read These 6 Tips First
Transitioning to assisted living is something many seniors don’t wish to do, but they find they must. They feel as if choices are being taken away from them and they’ll have less control over their lives. As a result, the process becomes more difficult. While family members cannot make this individual love their new accommodations, there are ways to help make the process easier for all involved. The following are six things every family should know about enrolling in assisted living.
Find the Right Facility
Just as every person needs to find a home they love when purchasing a new residence, time should be spent looking at different assisted living facilities to find the one that is right for you. Family members should accompany the seniors on these visits to make certain they feel comfortable with the facility as well. Hopefully, they will be visiting their loved one a great deal and they need to be able to treat it as if they are visiting the senior in his or her own home.
To determine which home this is, first make a list of the desired amenities. This helps to narrow down the available choices. The seniors may wish to have a large outdoor area where the children can play while visiting or access to a pool so everyone can swim together. In addition, the center should have activities appropriate for different ages to encourage loved ones to come to visit more often.
When visiting these facilities, be sure to speak to residents and their family members who are present. They can be of great help in providing information on activities for the residents and those who come to see this individual. Read online reviews also to obtain a better picture of what living at the facility is truly like and whether it is a good fit. Learn more at Pegasus Senior Living about how to find the best facility for this unique person.
Ensure They Have Some Independence
Enrolling in assisted living doesn’t mean the senior has to give up their independence. Keep in mind that this person has not only taken care of him or herself for decades but has also likely raised a family in the process. Allow this person to drive if they are still capable of doing so. If this isn’t possible for any reason, try to find a way to allow them to remain independent in other ways. For example, a person who loves to cook should be at a facility where doing so is possible for residents. Some facilities have individual living quarters set up like apartments for residents, and this would be a good option for an individual who loves to prepare meals for themselves and others.
Be sure to bring the senior’s favorite belongings with them to the assisted living facility. By surrounding the senior with his or her favorite things, it makes the facility feel like home in less time. Even if certain items must go because they are too big for the new accommodations, that doesn’t mean everything associated with the item must go. For example, a king-size bed might not fit in the apartment or room reserved for the senior, but this doesn’t mean he or she can’t take the quilt that laid on the bed. Having it easily accessible will make the transition period slightly easier.
Acknowledge the Change Won’t Be Easy
Don’t try to sweep the senior’s fears under the rug. Recognize that this is a big change in their life and talk to them about it. While family members may also be uncomfortable with the fact that their loved one is getting older and needs more help, this is a part of life that must be faced. By talking about these changes, everyone knows what the others are feeling. Only then can possible solutions be discussed.
The senior needs time to adjust, and it could take months before they truly feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Family members need a period of adjustment as well. It’s hard to see mom, dad, grandma or grandpa in a new setting. Recognize that this is normal and things will get better with time. This is especially true when the loved one adjusts and is happy in their new surroundings. Everyone will be able to see how the right choice was made.
Encourage Them to Make New Friends
Centers of this type regularly schedule activities for residents. Every person residing in the facility should be taking part in these activities to meet new people and have fun. If you have a loved one who is not doing so, find out why. It may be that he or she is too shy to get out and meet new people without help. On the other hand, the facility may not host activities this individual enjoys taking part in. While this should have been determined before an assisted living center was selected, all hope is not lost. Encourage the senior to try new things. Not only will this allow him or her to meet new people, learning something new helps to keep a senior’s mental faculties in good shape.
As mentioned above, it is important for family members and friends to visit regularly. The senior should not feel as if they have been abandoned in the assisted living center. The goal is to treat the facility as if it is their home and they have been living there for an extended time. Anything less and the senior likely won’t be happy with the new accommodations. As any stress can hasten their demise, regular visits need to be a priority at all times. Don’t assume that once the loved one appears to have adjusted to their new residence that these visits can decrease. It’s best to keep up a regular schedule to ensure they remain happy where they are, as this has been determined to be the best fit for their current circumstances.
Every person faced with enrolling a loved one in assisted living should do everything possible to ensure the transition is smooth from start to finish. Although there will be bumps in the road, this is to be expected. Don’t give up. When the right facility is selected, the senior will thrive, and this is the most important thing of all.