Moving elderly parents into an assisted living community can be challenging and stressful. Parents and children experience many emotions that can be difficult to manage. The move to an assisted living community, however, can bring elderly parents closer to family, ensure a safer home, and provide a more active lifestyle. Keep reading for the top tips on making this transition easier.
Research Possible Communities
Families should begin their search by asking friends, families, and local physicians for recommendations for an assisted living community. The internet can provide a long list of possible homes. It can be challenging to narrow down the options, but narrowing the options down to just three possibilities is essential. Once three homes with independent living services have been identified, making a list of pros and cons of each option can help families make an educated decision.
Visit the Top Contenders
Families should plan to visit each of the three communities with independent living services. It is not necessary to bring elderly parents along at this point, as family members will be spending a lot of time asking questions and filling out paperwork. Once families determine their favorite and top choice for their parents, they should take the parents to visit. Seniors need to have a role in the transition process. Some families prefer taking their parents to all three top choices and letting them choose their favorite. Other families like to take their parents to their top choice, and if they don’t like that one, take them to a second choice.
Work on Downsizing
It can be challenging for the elderly to downsize and get rid of meaningful possessions they have had their whole life. Elderly parents will need help in this process. Families can suggest that their parents start going through a room that does not have a lot of sentimental value, such as a guest bedroom or a bathroom. Adult children can help parents sort through things by making “give away” and “keep” piles. It’s always less traumatic to part with treasured items if they go to a loved one. See if family or friends need any of the things being discarded.
Moving parents to assisted living in Winston-Salem, NC may require significant traveling. Many times, elderly people can not take long trips without frequent stops. Some may even require full-service medical transport. Either way, plan for more travel time than is necessary. Stopping to stretch legs or get a cup of coffee may take more time but will allow a more comfortable trip.
If parents have mobility issues, flying might be the best option. Be sure to book direct flights and request boarding assistance and special seating. There are transportation companies that focus on seniors and provide non-emergency medical transportation.
Handle Health Care Transfers
Before making a big move to assisted living, contact a geriatric care manager, who can help set up new healthcare providers, in-home care agencies, and other resources. Transfer prescriptions to a new pharmacy or to be received by the new assisted living community.
Families need to contact insurance providers to be sure the new doctors and specialists are covered by their insurance plan. There is usually a number on the back of the insurance card that families can call to inquire. Insurance companies provide lists of providers online as well.
Make it Feel Like Home
When moving elderly parents into an assisted living home, families need to ask parents where they would like the furniture to be and how they want rooms organized. It is essential that they feel comfortable and at home. Be sure to bring sentimental things from their old house. Pictures of loved ones and memorabilia should be in plain view.
Set Them Up For Success
Moving parents into an assisted living home may cause them to mourn a loss of independence and feel afraid to adapt to a new home. They may have some mild depression. Adult children can help by making frequent visits and phone calls. Getting parents involved in activities and social events can also help the transition.
Any transition will take time and is likely to be stressful. Hopefully, these tips can help make the change a little easier.
Heritage Woods is an Assisted and Independent Living Community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We are located in a serene setting, yet close to many conveniences. We take pride in making sure our seniors and families feel at home. Encourage our residents to take advantage of the outdoors, whether it is by strolling on our walking trail, bird watching, gardening, or star gazing.