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Making the Transition to Assisted Living


While the trend these days is for older adults to remain in their homes for as long as possible, aging in place may not be feasible for everyone, and assisted living may be the better option. We have some suggestions for making the transition to assisted living as easy as possible.

First, however, you may wonder when you should consider assisted living for yourself or an aging loved one. Here are a few scenarios that may indicate assisted living may be the right choice:

  • Chronic medical conditions are worsening, or there are multiple medical conditions.
  • You, or your loved one, fall more often and are frail overall.
  • Managing finances becomes overwhelming, there are money issues, or the older adult is the victim of a financial scam.
  • The house is not clean, is cluttered or unsafe.
  • There is a decreased ability to care for oneself, and personal grooming suffers.
  • The senior demonstrates depression or social isolation.
  • When dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease is an issue

The decision to move into assisted living isn’t an easy one for the older adult or their family. But having “the discussion” doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you approach it well in advance. Framing it in favorable terms and doing advance research can help make the discussion go more smoothly.

Addressing the issue sooner than later will also help, mostly because the transition to assisted living is more comfortable when your loved one is ready. And the best way to be prepared is to have given it thought beforehand.

Granted, making a will or planning for the possibility of assisted living can be uncomfortable to think about and easy to put off. But, it can be even harder for everyone when those issues are not taken care of before they’re needed. If you think about assisted living as an option early on, you can have time to look for a suitable facility – and to start saving, so having enough funding isn’t an issue.

Here are a few ways to help make the transition to assisted living a bit easier:

If possible, keep it local.

By choosing a facility in the community, your loved one will have access to the same doctors and services they use now. The area will be familiar, making the transition easier. However, if a parent is moving to be closer to their grown children, it’s not always possible to stay in the community. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both moving to a new area and staying in the same area.

Visit the assisted living facility ahead of time.

Getting familiar with the layout, meeting staff and residents, and taking a few meals in the facility before the move will help make things familiar and make for a smoother transition.

Let the older adult(s) feel independent. 

Family members should be present and visit often, but avoid hovering – and allow them to adapt to their new situation. Everyone should give the process time: some people get used to change more quickly than others. At the same time, don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Choose items to bring from the old home to the new.

Having prized possessions will help make the new housing feel like home. If you have no one to help with this process, a service like ours can help clear the clutter, choose what to bring, and pack it carefully for the move. And we can help you unpack as well!

Don’t bring a lot of “new stuff.”

A new living situation brings with it the temptation to get new things for your loved one, but it might be best to hold off and not overwhelm them with strange, new stuff at the start. You can send care packages once they settle in, but the best thing you can give your loved one is time. Be sure to stay in touch and visit often.

Take advantage of the available activities.

There are usually many activities taking place regularly at assisted living facilities. Participating can help save off loneliness and isolation.

As an older adult facing a move to assisted living, the best thing you can do is be prepared and keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to be your own best advocate. And be sure to socialize with your fellow residents! They were the newcomers at one time, and they understand the apprehensions you may have. Making friends and staying active is the best way to settle into your new home.

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When seniors are ready to relocate – whether it’s to downsize or move to a senior living facility – we know how overwhelming it can be! Our Specialists take the emotional and physical stress out of senior moves because they understand what it is like to move a lifetime of memories and possessions. Contact us today!