When the time comes to help your parent move into senior assisted living, the process can seem daunting. While any move can be difficult, this one can be especially emotionally demanding.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll help your parent make the most of this new stage of life.
Help Them Understand Why This is the Right Decision
Take the time to help your parent see why transitioning into senior assisted living is best for them. Otherwise, they may be confused about the change, or even fearful or resentful. Explain that this is something that will make their life easier—not something you are doing to be “rid” of them.
One good way to do this is to offer it as a solution to specific problems they are encountering. For instance, if they find home maintenance difficult, gently suggest that assisted living can eliminate that issue.
Be As Informed As Possible
Of course, to help explain why this is the right move, you’ll need to be well-informed yourself. Make sure to educate yourself on the community, what their new life will be like, and what they can expect. This is particularly helpful if they’re not able to research themselves (due to mental issues, stress, or difficulty using technology).
You can help your parent be certain of what lies ahead if you have informed, confident, well-researched answers. It also makes it clear this isn’t an impulsive decision, but one that was made after careful thought and planning.
Don’t Dismiss Their Feelings
Even if your parent knows this is best, transitioning to senior assisted living may stir up emotions. It’s vital that you take these feelings seriously, whatever they are. Don’t try to force your parent to shove emotions down or ignore them. And be mindful of not calling any emotions “wrong.” Instead, comfort them, address their concerns, and reassure them without dismissing the validity of their feelings.
Practice active listening skills. Make eye contact, ask clarifying questions, don’t interrupt, and withhold judgment. By doing this, you’ll let your parent know that they’re truly heard and their emotions matter.
Respect and Calm Their Fears
One of the likely emotions that may come up during a move to senior assisted living is fear—fear of change or the unknown. Just like with any other emotion, fear should be taken seriously and not dismissed. Listen to their concerns respectfully, and do everything you can to reassure them.
A simple way to ease some common worries is to become familiar with the community before the move. Take tours, introduce them to the staff or other residents, if possible. Help them read reviews, and learn more about the community, location, and all their offerings. Make a list of their fears or worries and bring those up during a meeting with the staff so that they can hear answers from someone else other than you.
Remember, this a major change, and bracing for it can make it less overwhelming.
Focus on the Positive Aspects of Senior Assisted Living
When dealing with a life transition, it can be easy to focus on the things that are being lost. While mourning those losses can be healthy, you’ll want to also encourage your parent to look at the bright side. And with modern senior assisted living communities, there are more bright sides than ever!
There are classes to take, hobbies to explore, and new friends to meet. Your parent can start an exercise routine, enjoy wonderful cuisine, and dive into their passions. And thanks to the reduced-stress of this new lifestyle, they’re more likely to have the energy to truly enjoy life.
Help your parents transition to senior assisted living and enjoy their new season of life!
While this process can feel overwhelming and stressful, it doesn’t have to be. Keep these tips in mind. Focus on being prepared, remember to listen and support your parent. They’re far more likely to make the most of senior assisted living when they know you’re on their side. By following these steps, you both can embrace how positive this transition can be.