Lisa Conway – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: How can I help my mom adjust to assisted living?
A: Settling into a new environment requires a period of adjustment. Learning the physical aspects of a location, making new friends and adapting to a new routine can be challenging– at any age. For older adults, a move of this sort can cause increased confusion, frustration and sometimes, resentment. Here are eight tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped my clients adjust to –and ultimately enjoy– their new senior living situation.
Emphasize the positive: Point out all the unique amenities, opportunities for socialization, and the added support they will receive. The assisted living facility (ALF) can take care of things like laundry and cooking so that seniors can really enjoy life in their new community.
Establish a routine: Routines provide familiarity and stability, which are comforting –especially in a new environment. Help create a daily routine that includes activities, meals and socialization.
Encourage involvement: Taking part in community activities is a great way to meet new people, make friends and engage in meaningful interactions.
Attend community events: Encourage attendance at organized events and outings. This helps the aging adult socialize and explore their new surroundings, while maintaining their connection to the greater community.
Meet the staff and neighbors: Facilitate introductions to the staff and other residents. Getting to know others can foster a sense of camaraderie and create a support system within the new community.
Personalize the living space: Add meaningful items such as photographs, artwork or cherished possessions to help personalize the new space and make it feel more like home.
Encourage open communication: Support your loved one in communicating needs, concerns and preferences to the staff. The ALF cannot improve things they don’t know about.
Provide support: Offer your unconditional support and understanding during the period of transition. Be patient. Acknowledge feelings. Check in regularly, but give them the space they need to adjust to the change.
Acclimating to a new environment takes time. Encourage your Mom to embrace the process and remind her that with patience and an open mind she can build a fulfilling life in her new home. If the senior in your life is having a particularly difficult time acclimating to a new living situation, call Senior Partner Care Services at One Senior Place in Viera, at 321-751-6771. Having a caring individual by their side may offer them just the level of comfort needed to successfully adjust to their new home.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.