We understand most of us would rather keep mom or dad at home, but there comes a point where it’s just not safe.
If your loved one is at an age where they may need to move into a senior home, you can help them with this transition.
Here’s our advice if you're faced with transitioning a loved one to senior housing.
TIPS FORSTARTING THE CONVERSATION
No matter what the age of your loved one, now is the time to open the lines of communication.
Share your concerns about their health and safety.
Many seniors do not want to burden their loved ones, but most will respond to honest communication.
Stop the conversation for the time being when a loved one continually refuses to accept the idea of moving.
Be aware of other opportunities to bring up the conversation again.
Hold a family meeting without your loved one and discuss issues, such as, finances and legal documents.
It's important that all family members are on the same page and giving the same message to your loved one.
Avoid discussing sensitive personal family matters and focus on what is best for your loved one.
TIPS FORA SMOOTH TRANSITION
Encourage your loved one to participate as much as possible in the selection of the new home.
Arrange for your loved one to make a visit to the home to meet the staff, residents, and try the food.
Allow your loved one to choose which personal items they will take.
Review the contract carefully.Read resident rights and know the process for voicing complaints, compliments or concerns.
Review state inspection reports. (We provide these for you)
Create a pro’s & con’s list of each appropriate facility.
Listen to the concerns and fears of the senior and address them.
Go through some “what if’s” and keep the end goal in mind.
TIPS FORAFTER THE MOVE
Be aware that you may be feeling sad or guilty and this is normal.
Stay positive and remember why you and your loved one made this decision.
Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS) is real and common no matter how old you are.
Be aware of the signs of RSS such as anxiety, depression, disorientation, and exhaustion.
Understand that everyone is different and some people may show no signs where others may be affected for the first couple of days or even months.
Encourage your loved one to retain patterns from home, such as subscribing to the newspaper, having afternoon tea, or taking walks.
Invite family and friends over to dinner in the private dining room of their “new home.”
Visit daily if that is what you did when they were home.
There is usually a resident run ‘welcome committee’ that will help new residents to fit in and feel welcome.
Be sure to read welcome packets that will list important names and numbers as well as community ‘rules.’
Meet all the staff and know their role and how to get in touch with them.
TIPS FORTRANSITIONING TO AN ALZHEIMER'S FACILITY
Involve your loved one as much as is reasonable and comfortable for them in the plans for the move.
Be prepared for emotions. If your loved one does express fear or anger at the move, validate their feelings.
Do not argue or disagree. But do acknowledge that the move is for their wellbeing and safety.
Arrange the room with familiar items before they arrive.Familiarity will assist with the adjustment.
Compose a list of important information for your loved ones’ new caregivers. For example, likes/dislikes, things that make him happy/sad, and their daily routine.
Move during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Early mornings tend to be a busy, hectic time at communities.A calm entrance will be less alarming to a person with dementia.
Allow for some quiet adjustment time for your loved one in their new room before venturing out to other areas of the community.
Ask staff at the facility to limit the number of people coming in and out of the room or introducing themselves.
Keep a happy face, even though you may not feel like it.
Keeping yourself calm will help reassure your loved one that this is a positive transition and they are safe.
If your loved one has been receiving home care, have the scheduled caregiver continue to visit at the new community for the first week or two.
This can be very comforting, but also beneficial to the staff who can learn about how to best care for the senior from someone who is already familiar with his or her care needs.
Join your loved one for meals in a quiet area during the first couple of days.
Patience is key during this process.
It will take at least 4-6 weeks to smooth out many of the wrinkles you encounter in the first week following move-in.
It will take some time for your loved one to adjust to their new surroundings.
Looking for Some Advice?
We're happy to help!