Mom is so excited – she’s looking forward to new friends, a new room, and there are so many activities to try! She’s relieved that she won’t have to mow the lawn anymore or drag the vacuum up and down the stairs. This assisted living community is going to be WONDERFUL!
Even when your loved one is happy to be moving into an assisted living community, moving can be difficult, and it can be especially challenging for a senior to leave a home. So many memories live in that old home, and there is so much work to do. Take heart – there are ways to make the move easier and less stressful.
1. Practice Patience and Compassion
Even when your loved one has chosen assisted living for themselves and is looking forward to the change, there are still so many memories in the old home, and often there is apprehension about why she is moving and where she is going. Allow your senior time to process and allow her talk to you about what she is feeling. If she needs to do a little grieving, take time to listen and understand the many different things she is feeling. Be supportive and optimistic and always willing to listen.
2. Don’t Try To Do It Alone
There will be a lot of scrubbing and packing and things to do – your senior is probably moving because she is having trouble with basic activities, and she is going to need help with a lot more than the basics. When possible, involve your family in the process. Surrounding your senior with loved ones who care for her will also help her feel less frightened that she will be isolated or forgotten. Siblings and even young children can pitch in to make the move easier and to keep your loved one’s spirits high.
3. Keep Your Eye on the Goal
Look carefully at the new living space before the move, and determine where furniture and large pieces should go. Consider the closet space and decide where items in cabinets and drawers should go. Defining a plan about how things will be arranged in the senior care space will make the move less confusing for everyone.
Pack and organize the old home with the new living space in mind, and label boxes so they can be delivered to the proper places. Donating unneeded items rather than throwing them away prevents seniors from feeling loss when discarding unwanted items. Remember to be patient and willing to listen when she connects with old memories. Allow her to talk about her feelings, and let her know when you share them. When other family members take furniture or items, ask them to be prompt and remove them before the move, so that your senior isn’t concerned about these extra details.
5. Fix It Up
Clean the house and make repairs for your loved one before she leaves the residence. She is leaving because she can’t do these things for herself, so suggest that you or she hire a cleaning service or a handy man. You can do a lot of things yourself if you or your family have the resources and time. Get the home tidied and cleaned and ready for sale, even if your loved isn’t ready to sell it yet, so that she will free to make whatever decision she chooses about assisted living without added fear.
6. Moving Day
Think about you’ll move your loved one’s things. If you live far away from your loved one and she is moving to a senior living community nearer to you, you’ll want to think about using a full service moving company. Moves that are local and closer to home can be performed by family with a rental truck. In both cases, you’ll want to plan for the cost of any moving services involved.
Give some thought to how your senior will travel. Short road trips might be possible, but for many seniors, long road trips and plane flights require extra planning and may even be impossible. You’ll want to figure out the best way to bring your senior to her new home based on the available budget and the amount of time available to you for traveling with your loved one.
And most of all….
7. Stay Positive
Moving a loved one to an assisted living community may seem like a frightening or distressing step, but it can be a hopeful step forward into a long, happy senior experience. Senior care is a way to keep your loved one comfortable, safe, and more capable than she would be in her own home, and to provide peace of mind for concerned family and friends. Stay positive and remember to see the move as an overall happy occasion. It’s the start of a new chapter of life, one in which your senior can enjoy living stress fee without the burden of maintaining a home while and you watch joyfully as they get the most out of life.