The decision to move to Assisted living is a big one.  Here are a few tips to help you with the discussion.  There will certainly be mixed emotions for both you and your loved ones.  Being positive during the discussion and highlighting the benefits of the transition will help your loved one understand that there is a need that cannot be met any longer at home.  Take the time to discuss if this is the right time and allow them to have input so that they feel they are a part of the decision making. The following things will help you in preparing for the move.

Choosing what to pack

Know your new space, choosing what to take can sometimes be difficult so make sure you know how big your space is when choosing furnishings. You want to ensure that your or your loved one feels at home.  Chose your favorite items, photos, a comfortable chair, and don’t forget those comfort items like slippers, a rob, and a comfy pair of Jammies.  All communities have different closet sizes ranging form very large to small.  Choosing the best selection for the space available will limit any anxiety if you arrive and things do not fit in the space provided.

Getting to know the staff

Take the time to visit your new community before you move in. Ask questions and get to know the staff that will be caring for you or your loved one. You want to make sure your loved one is comfortable and knows where to go for assistance. You will become very close with your loved one’s care team and should feel comfortable asking questions about the care provided.

Notifying the proper agencies of the change

Make a list of the people and agencies that you will need to notify that your loved one’s address has changed, for example the Post office, Bank, Doctors, Insurance Companies, utilities, phone company, Newspaper, just to name a few. Help arrange for utilities to be disconnected just after the move.

Prepare yourself for your loved one to need emotional support

Remember your loved one may suffer from depression, or anxiety.  The sense of losing independence is difficult and you may need to offer them emotional support to help with the move to assisted living. Acknowledge that they may be feeling loss of not only their independence but freedom.  Be careful not to dismiss their feelings they need time to adjust and they will need you to help them down that road.

Getting the care team together

Assuring every part of the care team are onboard from the Doctor, Caregivers and staff, Family, and your loved ones need to work together to ensure a smooth transition.  It is already a difficult life change. Any stress may potentially highjack all the work and preparing that you and your family have done in getting your loved one ready for this change. Make note of all the documents, and Health records are ready and signed. Make sure you have a Power of Attorney on file at least for Healthcare but you may want to look into financial as well as being prepared well in advance will limit the possibility of being unprepared in a Emergency.  Have your loved one evaluated by his or her physician so that the Physicians report (Lic 602) can be completed along with a Tuberculosis (TB) test can be performed.

Working together as a team to assist our seniors to feel at home is the only way to guarantee that our seniors are successful in the transition and adjusting to their new living situation. Visit often and call to let your loved one know that you are going through this with them and that you have not forgotten about them.  Talk with your Administrator or Nursing staff to find solutions to any problems with the transition that may arise.  Remember they have gone through this many times with seniors and have developed proven ways to support our seniors in a successful move.

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