When your elderly parent moves into assisted living facilities she may find that she either has a lot in common with her fellow neighbors in the assisted living community or she may struggle to find commonalities to build friendships on. This is part of the difficulty in transitioning that some seniors experience. For others, they may start making friends immediately but have a difficult time getting used to set meal times.
Change can be a difficult road to navigate at any age. It’s common for seniors to have some challenges during their transition from the home they lived in to the assisted living community. It can be a very big lifestyle change and there could be difficult adjustments at the same time as welcome changes.
Your senior doesn’t need to feel like she has to opt out of everything just because she doesn’t think she fits in. Fitting in is usually no more than just the attitude of the person and how she accepts herself as fitting into her new community. Here are some adjustments she may be making as well as some tips for easing the transition.
Why does moving to a senior living facility have some adjustments?
Moving is one of life’s biggest changes. Some of the difficulties may include:
- Downsizing from a spacious home to a modest apartment-size dwelling.
- Adapting to a new routine. For example, if your mom was accustomed to eating a late dinner but at assisted living the dinner services is over at 7pm.
- Resenting having to live with other people when she lived alone for years.
- Feeling that she was abandoned or betrayed.
- Frustrated at losing her independence of living alone (even though she hasn’t been able to manage by herself for years. She has kind of been in denial that she needs daily help.)
Usually seniors that have difficulties transitioning at first actually find that there are so many benefits to living in the facility that they end up feeling gratitude and peace. They realize their family members acted out of love to arrange the move into assisted living for them.
Tips for helping your parent adjust
- Family encouragement and support in the weeks leading up to the move, including taking your parent to visit the community on several occasions; as often as possible. Once the facility has been selected, take her to visit and meet people. Let her get familiar with the people and the surroundings.
- Make her new apartment look very similar to her home using pictures and bedding from her home. Let your mom have input about which keepsakes will come along with her to her new home at the assisted living community.
- Encourage her to participate in activities and help out as a volunteer with activities at the center. She will soon feel very involved and a vital part of her surroundings.