One of the hardest parts of working with seniors is seeing how hard it is for adult children to move their parents into assisted living. Many of them experience a mixture of emotions that include worry, guilt, and uncertainty. They know it’s the right decision, but it’s difficult to see their loved one give up some measure of independence. You can’t take away their pain, but you can figure out how to help families feel better about assisted living while they transition to a new reality.
All these ideas offer chances to bond, but depending on the senior’s health—and the state of the world—it may not be in person. All these tips are just as effective via phone calls, video calls, care packages, and socially distant visits when possible. Their physical safety is just as important as their emotional adjustment.
Turn To Technology
Everyone loves a new gadget, as long as it’s not too complicated. Tell families about the latest technology that can help with their loved one’s care—both for that person’s safety and their ability to feel connected to the outside world. Large-screen visuals like video conferencing make the connection feel more human than a phone call can. There are endless improvements for protecting seniors, so show them how a digital pill dispenser can prevent mistakes. Little things can give families more peace of mind. Many of the newest innovations prioritize voice activation, so seniors can take advantage of the new technology without feeling intimidated.
Give Them Some Structure
Make sure they utilize any community programming together by helping them put together a schedule and a calendar. Families can feel part of their grandparents’ day-to-day lives when they know what they’re doing. Help them schedule weekly plans together so that too much time doesn’t go by between check-ins. When it’s safe for kids to visit, there are plenty of activities to keep them active while they get to know the older generation. Ask about what their loved one liked to do in their former home so that you can include those hobbies in the schedule, too. Adjusting to assisted living means holding onto beloved traditions as they create new ones, and you can show them how.
Make Their Home Their Own
A new living space can feel scary, but it’s also a fresh start. Suggest that families get involved in decorating their loved one’s new surroundings. The transition is easier with a balance between familiar objects with meaning and updated touches for the future. A resident will relax with their own bed linens but will appreciate the comfort and benefits of an upgraded mattress. Help plan a shopping outing for new appliances that will improve their daily routines. Introduce them to neighbors who can share how they make their places homey. Ask families for the meaning behind some of the keepsakes displayed, and then have the senior expand on the stories. The best theories of how to help families feel better about assisted living emphasize the possibilities ahead while respecting where they came from.