The first three months following a transition to assisted care can be the most challenging for a new resident. Depending on their level of awareness they may be able to communicate this verbally, or we may see other indicators such as a decline in their day-to-day condition. At A A Paradise for Parents, we believe in working as a team with you and your loved one to make this transition as smooth and easy as possible. We know that adjusting to assisted living can be hard for anyone.
Here are a few things to watch for in the first three months and some strategies for handling them:
- Transitions can often be difficult: No matter what you do, what the new resident does or what we at A Paradise for Parents do, this transition is often a challenging one for your loved one. This is a major change in their life and one that is happening at a time when they already feel vulnerable. Be prepared for a few challenges in the weeks following the transition but also know that when the adjustment is made life will improve overall. We’ve found that our residents really start to settle in after three months and really embrace the new lifestyle and surroundings. It just requires patience and dedication from the whole team.
- Expecting to go home: Many of our new residents expect this to be just a temporary measure and that they will be going home soon. A few ways to make the transition easier are making regular visits and also decorating their rooms with familiar objects from home. The shock of this big change can be difficult so it is important to be as present and supportive as possible during the initial change in accommodations. Adjusting to assisted living during the first three months are all about learning a new routine.
- Preserving the home life: We find that the most successful transitions are the ones where all the family or friends are involved and as much of the loved one’s home life comes with them as possible. Your loved ones do not want to feel they have been abandoned in an institution but rather that they are moving to a new home. Decorating their room with furniture from home and by bringing in their prized memories and possessions too, along with books and clothing can make the transition much easier. You may be able to take them on an outing from the facility to show them they are not locked down to it. For example our homes in Surprise are near some senior centers where they can socialize and make new friends.
- Making contact with other residents: Our goal is to place our residents so each home accommodates people of similar care and life experience, and we always encourage your loved ones to make contact with others in the facility. Adjusting to assisted living is always easier when people see others doing well in the home. This way they can see that they are not alone and can share what is happening to them with others who already have transitioned successfully. Many people discover old friends or people from the neighborhood and that familiarity helps them settle into their new lives.
- Continuity of experience: Encourage your loved ones to do as many of the same activities they enjoyed when they were still living at their old home. Maintain family traditions, such as weekly family meals or other activities, so they can see that life has not stopped but just entered a new phase. When they feel that they still have their independence, such as mobility or going to their room when they want to, that can make the adjustment to their new living situation much easier.
- Keep visiting and calling: It is very important to minimize the feelings of abandonment your parent or loved one may be experiencing. If you are a daily caller keep up the visits and maybe stay longer than you would have when they were at home. Bring other family members and encourage them to visit too when you are at work. A quick phone call can mean a lot to a resident when they are settling into their new home. Knowing that you are thinking of them will make a world of difference.
Adjusting to assisted living during the first three months are going to be difficult. Be aware of this in advance. Make the necessary room in your life so you can help your parent or loved one adjust. That will make the transition much smoother.