When a loved one moves into a senior residence or assisted living facility, it can be a stressful time. Your loved one may feel depressed over having to leave their home, and they may be anxious about what the new situation holds for them. Although experts agree that at the right time, a move into assisted living significantly improves the quality of life of most seniors, it is still a time of transition, uncertainty, and even fear.
One of the most stressful thoughts someone moving into an assisted living facility deals with is the fear of being abandoned. They often wonder if their family will remember to come see them, or if they can expect visits from friends. Some of the older stereotypes of being “put away and forgotten” in an elder care facility may dominate their thoughts, but these are needless fears. Here are some ways that both you and your loved one can make the transition easier and more stress-free, while ensuring that you will be staying connected with those you love.
Staying Connected After the Big Move
Today’s assisted living facilities generally provide a wide range of activities for your loved one to meet other people, get engaged, stay creative, or maintain an active lifestyle. Still, there is no replacement for the interaction with a loved one. Here are some easy ways to maintain a strong connection with those you love who have moved to assisted living.
- Schedule the Time. Just like anything in life which is a priority, the easiest way to make sure something happens is to schedule it! For seniors, especially those with memory challenges, having a routine is important. Therefore, knowing that you will come to see them every Friday afternoon, or that they will be picked up for Sunday dinner every week, is a great way for both of you to maintain your connection. Hang a large calendar on their wall in their new room, and mark days you are coming in bold color. This will be a continual reminder that they have an upcoming visit to look forward to. Be sure to make it a non-negotiable schedule item for you as well.
- Have Real Conversations. Your loved ones in assisted living have real challenges and real emotions. You can maintain a strong connection by continuing to have meaningful conversations, encouraging them to speak their mind and opinions. No one likes feeling as if their emotions are being disregarded. If you have always shared deep and thoughtful conversations with your loved one, continue to do so as long as possible.
- Connect the Two Worlds. A wonderful way to continue to have a rich and connected experience with your loved one is to spend time getting to know their new friends. This integrates everyone they care about, and will allow you to more easily participate in their activities when you visit. You may also be providing some much needed outside interaction to another resident who is feeling alone.
- Send Mail. If you do not live nearby, frequent visits may not be practical. IF this is the case, you may wish to send letters, cards or gifts on a regular basis. These types of gifts are getting rarer every day, yet will mean the world to your resident. Be sure to understand their capabilities. If reading is difficult, you may choose to send flowers, some of their favorite candies, or anything that reminds them of your time together. Everyone loves to receive mail, no matter their age.
- Set Aside Time to Call. There is still nothing better than a phone call if you are thinking of someone – unless it is Facetime or Skype. If necessary, ask a staff member for assistance. Your loved one will love seeing your face.
Life gets busy for everyone, but at A Banyan Residence, we know how important it is for our residents to feel connected. That is why we provide ample opportunity for your loved one to meet other people, engage in social activities and stay active. Still ,there is no substitute for your love. Staying connected with your loved ones in assisted living is the most important thing you can do for them.