Moving to an assisted living community can be a major life change for seniors and their families. It can bring up a range of emotions, such as anxiety, sadness, anger, guilt, or relief. However, it can also be a positive and rewarding experience that offers safety, comfort, and social opportunities. Here are some tips on how to prepare emotionally for a move to assisted living:
- Start the conversation early. If possible, talk to your loved one about their preferences and expectations for assisted living before the need arises. This can help you avoid making hasty decisions under pressure and give you time to explore different options. Be respectful of their thoughts and opinions, but also be honest about your concerns about them remaining at home.
- Seek support from others. You don’t have to go through this transition alone. Reach out to your family, friends, health care team, spiritual community, or local support groups. Talking to others who understand what you’re going through can help you cope and reduce feelings of isolation. You can also learn from their experiences and get practical advice on how to deal with the challenges of moving to assisted living.
- Be empathetic and respectful. Moving to an assisted living community can be a difficult and emotional process for your loved one. They may feel a loss of independence, privacy, and control over their life. They may also have fears about leaving their home, belongings, and memories behind. Try to understand and share in their feelings, and acknowledge their right to have them. Don’t judge or dismiss their emotions, but rather listen and validate them.
- Involve your loved one in the decision-making process. As much as possible, let your loved one have a say in choosing the assisted living community and preparing for the move. This can help them feel more empowered and comfortable with the change. For example, you can ask them to visit different communities with you, select the items they want to bring or donate, or decorate their new apartment with personal belongings.
- Focus on the positive aspects of assisted living. While acknowledging the challenges and losses that come with moving to assisted living, try to also emphasize the benefits and opportunities that it offers. For example, you can remind your loved one that they will have access to quality care, nutritious meals, engaging activities, and social interactions with other residents and staff. You can also highlight the features and amenities that suit their interests and needs.
- Give yourself time and permission to grieve. Moving a loved one to assisted living can be a stressful and emotional experience for you as well. You may feel guilty, sad, angry, or relieved. These are all normal and valid emotions that reflect your love and care for your loved one. Give yourself time to process the news and don’t judge yourself for how you feel. You may also experience changes in your relationship with your loved one as the disease progresses, so be gentle with yourself and seek professional help if you need it.
Making the move to assisted living can be highly emotional for both the patient and their family. We are here to help you in this transition. Please contact us today for more information and to learn how Manoogian Manor can help.