Getting married or divorced, having a child, becoming an empty nester … it takes time to get used to major lifestyle changes, and moving into assisted living is no exception. Adjusting to assisted living takes time. Every individual is different, but typically it takes at least a month to settle in, get into a routine and feel comfortable. For some people, adapting and embracing assisted living takes much longer. If your loved one is preparing to move to assisted living in Oklahoma City or is a new resident of an Oklahoma assisted living facility, here is some advice for helping ease the transition.
If your parent has not yet moved to assisted living and your family is in the research stage, you have an excellent opportunity to lay a positive groundwork for the transition. Involve your parent in the researching process and make sure he feels in control about what is happening. Encourage him to make a list of criteria he would like to see in his new home. Once you have narrowed down a promising location, visit during different times of the day so your loved one will gain a clear understanding of what is to come. Once you have selected a facility, schedule a meeting so your parent can meet the staff and even some fellow residents.
Your parent may be downsizing significantly, but it’s important to make sure her assisted living space feels like home. Fill the space with photos and possessions that are meaningful to her. You may not agree with your loved one’s choices of what to bring to her new space, but resist the urge to question her decisions. If she feels she’s in control of what’s happening, she’ll adjust more quickly.
It’s only natural for your parent to grieve the loss of his former life. Moving from independent living to assisted living is a major change. Respect and validate your loved one’s feelings and emotions but also point out the positives. He will be surrounded by people who are available to help and socialize with. Easy access to human contact is one of the most positive aspects of assisted living. If your loved one was feeling isolated in his home, assisted living represents an exciting new beginning.
If your parent seems to be depressed or having an unusually difficult time adjusting, reach out to the staff at your senior living facility. Often, there are social workers, mental health professionals and member of the clergy on staff or on call. Sometimes it can be helpful for your parent to talk to an outsider about his or her feelings. Your parent may not want to burden you but may feel comfortable opening up to someone else. Talking about difficult feelings can be therapeutic and helpful in transitioning.
If you are beginning a conversation with your loved one about assisted living, one of the best ways to begin the transition is to visit us at Village at Oakwood. Contact us for a tour of caring and inviting facility.