Family Support Guide: Transitioning a Loved One To Assisted Living
To help make our new senior residents feel as welcome as possible, and to ease the transition for family members and everyone else involved, we’ve put together this brief family support guide to transitioning your loved one to assisted living.
Moving to a new location can be exciting — and challenging. Even if your loved one is eager to make the move to a premier assisted living community such as Kensington Park Senior Living, he or she may struggle with relinquishing a home that contains a lifetime of memories.
Before the Move
- Meet with the assisted living team. Long before you actually pack and prepare to move, arrange a meeting with the assisted living staff who will facilitate your move to your new community. Ask all the questions you can think of, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification about any concerns you have, such as how much of your own furniture will fit in your new living space.
Here at Kensington Park Senior Living, Move-In Coordinator Betsy Davis transitions residents gently, patiently, and thoroughly into their new home, coordinating every detail to make the process as efficient and effortless as possible. After the move, she remains your liaison and guide, available to answer any questions and offer reassurance that the move was a good decision and that some settling in time is normal and to be expected.
- Select a target date for the move. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to not only pack but to say goodbye to your old neighborhood, merchants you may be fond of (and who will surely want to know you’re moving!), acquaintances, etc.
- Downsize wisely. Many assisted living communities will provide furnished living spaces, but if you have a cherished end table or painting that will help the new space feel like home, be sure to plan on packing it for the move, once you’ve determined it will fit well in your new assisted living home.
- Choose a family member or friend to accompany you on moving day. Moving is stressful no matter what your age or situation. If you recall settling in at college or helping a child get situated at their college, you remember the anxiety of moving day, even though it’s a positive experience. Big changes and letting go of the known bring up strong emotions. That’s the nature of life, and it’s OK to feel what you feel.
Packing Tips to Make the Move Easier
Whether you’re planning to handle the packing on your own or with family members, or relying on a professional for most of the work, there are several tips to make packing, if not a breeze, at least not a hurricane.
- Purge before you pack. Hold a yard sale. Make a trip (or two or three) to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. The latter will even come to your loved one’s house to pick up donations — including the car they’re no longer going to need in the assisted living community.
- Emulate Santa. Make an itemized list, and check it twice, to be sure you know what’s going to be packed where — and so mom or dad can easily find what they want when they arrive at their new assisted living home.
- Set precious items aside. It’s perfectly acceptable to keep family heirlooms, other valuables, and fragile belongings aside to hand-carry. Just be sure you have enough bubble wrap or other protective packaging to transport these items safely to your parent’s new home.
- Keep medications and other essentials in one location so your loved one can find them easily once settled.
After the Move
As mentioned above, a move to assisted living, even if all parties are in agreement, can be a stressful time. Here are some of the ways you can support your loved one:
- Encourage your parent to go easy on themselves. They’ve just let go of their old home, neighborhood, and community, and this is a big adjustment. Even in the best of situations, in which your loved one willingly chose the move to assisted living, they may feel vulnerable and sad.
Relocation grief is real. Leaving one’s home is a huge upheaval, and feelings of grief and loss are normal. Take some time to acknowledge them rather than trying to be too upbeat too soon. Sympathy and respect will allow your loved one time to adjust.
- Help personalize their living space. Help your parent decorate as they see fit, especially if they brought that treasured painting from their old home to their new assisted living home.
- Be your parent’s advocate. If your loved one has concerns after an adjustment period, discuss what steps you can take together to resolve the issue. It might simply be a matter of asking a staff member a few questions, which your loved one may be reluctant to do as a new resident.
- Stay in touch! Regular calls and visits from friends and family will reassure your loved one that the relocation hasn’t changed your love for them. If your loved one lives far away, regular calls or emails can make a big difference.
How Kensington Park Welcomes Seniors Home
At The Kensington, we promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. This is the core of our inspiration and dedication in creating Kensington Park: a full-service community where your loved one can truly age in place as their needs evolve.
In addition to a complete calendar of life enrichment programs and events suited to an active lifestyle, we provide a full spectrum of clinical support, including memory care and end-of-life care, with a professional staff of care providers devoted to our senior residents’ health and well being at every life stage.
We encourage family members and friends to stop by any time, join us for a delicious, healthy meal in our well-appointed dining room, and most of all, tell us all about your loved one’s lifestyle, talents, preferences, and dreams for this stage of their life, so we can help make them come true.