5 Ways to Help Ease the Transition to Senior Living

Getting involved with community life and making friends can help ease that transition and create a more positive experience as they adjust to their new home. After all, just because someone you love could use a helping hand doesn’t mean that they should have to sacrifice quality of life!

As your loved one settles into their new home, consider trying these actions to help them adjust to life in a senior community.

1. Create a Warm and Welcoming Atmosphere

To help ease the transition to this new lifestyle, look for opportunities to make their new apartment feel and function like a private home. Look for window treatments that bring in as much natural light as you can, and arrange any furniture you’ve brought with you in a way that’s comfortable but easy to navigate in the floor plan. Consider adding a few house plants to green up their space! Though your loved one might’ve had to downsize for the move to their new community, find a few sentimental or important knick-knacks to feature prominently in the new decor. Is your father a veteran? Frame a few of his medals! Is your mom an award-winning artist? Put one of her paintings on a feature wall.

2. Prioritize a Secure Setting

Different communities have different levels of security, so make sure both you and your loved one understand the community’s guidelines and rules about visits, guest hours, door access and emergency protocols. Does the front entrance have a guest sign-in? Are there visitor hours to adhere to, or can your mom or dad have friends and family visit around the clock? Does the front door lock at a specific time, or is it controlled access 24-7? In the event of an emergency, do you know how you can reach your loved one or how they can reach you? If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider taking some time to explore the community with them.  This may help them adjust to their new surroundings in a controlled manner and may also help you understand what security measures are in place to help ensure the safety of residents.

3. Ask for Person-Centered Care

We’re all unique, and aging doesn’t change who we are and what makes us special! Your loved one’s new community shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to resident care. Ask an associate how the community tailors care plans to treat the resident as a whole person. The community’s goal should be getting to know each resident for who they are and incorporating their individual needs and interests into their care plan.

4. Encourage Participation in Enriching Activities

Regularly scheduled activities can provide residents with a sense of purpose and belonging — and those activities can be a great place to make new friends! Especially in the first few days or weeks in a new community, encourage your loved one to stay engaged with a daily structure of planned activities. Not only might this help them maintain their abilities and encourage use of their current skills, but it may also help them get to know the other residents. Brain games, dancing, art classes and music programs are just a few of the ways residents can spend their days.

5. Consider Services and Staff

Your loved one deserves to experience a full life in a place where they are well taken care of. Ask how chores like laundry and housekeeping are handled, and get details on support provided throughout the day, whether it's during meals, taking medication, bathing and more. A regular schedule could help them adjust to life in their new home, and it could help reassure you that they’re getting the care they need.

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