There are numerous reasons why families delay their decision to seek out assisted living. Researching suitable communities can be time-consuming and somewhat confusing.
Discussing a potential move with your loved one can be filled with conflicting emotions, and contribute to the stress you might already be feeling. And for most seniors, the prospect of moving from where they have lived for most of their lives can be overwhelming.
However, after the transition to assisted living, many residents say they wish they had moved sooner. There are strategies you can take to move the process forward and find the best possible care for your loved one. Read on to learn more.
Accepting Emotional Challenges
Perhaps the biggest challenge of moving a loved one to an independent living or assisted living community is processing any negative emotions associated with the choice. You may be experiencing some of the following thoughts:
- “I should have Mom or Dad move in with me.”
- “I’m not ready for this. Assisted living seems so final.”
- “How will my loved one handle this change?”
While these thoughts are completely normal and to be expected, it is important to address them so you can help your loved one make the best decision.
I should have Mom or Dad move in with me.
Many people worry they are making the wrong decision by having their loved one move elsewhere instead of coming to live with them. Although living together might seem like the best option at first, think about its possible effects on your own family. How will you cope with an extra person in the house with a different schedule and needs? More importantly, will your loved one enjoy the change? It is important to be honest in your assessment.
Remember, too, that If your loved one needs more care than you’re able to provide, you might still have to move them down the road. Living together is often a temporary solution at best.
I’m not ready for this. Assisted living seems so final.
This fear often comes from a misconception about what assisted living is. It is not a nursing home - it is a solution for independent adults who need a bit of help with their daily activities. Most residents in assisted living enjoy full lives with busy schedules - perhaps more so than when they lived alone!
That doesn’t mean that your feelings about your loved one growing older are invalid. It can be difficult to accept your loved one’s age, as well as a decline in some of their abilities. Realizing that aging is a natural, positive part of life can help, as can discussing your thoughts with someone else.
How will my loved one handle this change?
You may be feeling guilty about asking a loved one to move from the comfort of their home to a new environment, surrounded by new people. Or maybe the thought of helping them downsize (see more on this below) is overwhelming.
Keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your loved one so you can understand their preferences - never assume you know what they want. Together, try to come up with a strategy for moving. Perhaps you plan out a timeline of when the move will be complete, or arrange to visit several assisted living communities together. Whatever you decide, be sympathetic and open to what your loved one has to say.
Benefits of Assisted Living
It can help to understand what your loved one will gain with a move to assisted living. The benefits are numerous and can include the following:
- More time to do what you enjoy. Living in a community where you are free from worrying about home maintenance, cooking, or chores can be liberating. Residents can use their newfound time to take part in their favorite hobbies or travel.
- Social opportunities. Assisted living communities provide residents with the opportunity to interact with people their own age and often of similar interests. Plus, communities offer activities and excursions tailored to residents’ interests, so it’s easy for your loved one to do what they enjoy.
- Peace of mind. With 24/7 help available and all the assistance they need with everyday tasks, your loved one can lead an independent lifestyle without fear – providing you both with peace of mind.
- Amenities under one roof. Assisted living communities offer amenities ranging from heated pools and chef-prepared cuisine to on-site cinemas and salons. All the luxuries your loved one enjoys are close at hand and easily accessible.
If your loved one displays some hesitation about moving, choose a few benefits you know they would enjoy having and discuss them together. Sometimes, showing your loved one that assisted living communities aren’t what they once were can be helpful.
Getting Started with Downsizing
The thought of going through every one of your belongings can seem like an insurmountable project, and this alone can stop some people from planning for a move to assisted living.
However, if you have both decided that assisted living is right for your loved one, there are strategies you can try to make the transition smoother.
One is to hire a professional downsizing coordinator. These professionals have experience in the art of paring down a lifetime of possessions and coordinating a move when you’re ready. Check with the National Association of Senior Move Managers for a list of coordinators in your area.
You might also frame the process as “rightsizing” - because after all, you’re letting go of possessions you no longer want or need and keeping what matters most. Assure your loved one that their new home will have plenty of space for the things they treasure most.
Finally, the downsizing process can be a wonderful opportunity to share things you no longer need with others. Donations of clothing, furniture, housewares, and more are appreciated and needed at local charities, so consider doing research to find organizations that accept donations.
What to Look For in an Assisted Living Community
Now that you’ve addressed some of the up-front challenges of moving to assisted living, you can begin to look for specific communities.
You may have one in mind already based on recommendations from others, or you may be starting from square one. In either case, the internet is an invaluable tool as you begin your journey. Search for communities that you are familiar with, visit their websites, and read reviews. You can also use search terms like “assisted living in Manhattan” to find nearby options.
Once you’ve found a few options that seem to meet your loved one’s lifestyle and care needs, arrange for a visit - or two visits, if you can. During your appointments, observe and ask questions like these:
- Do the residents seem happy and engaged?
- Are there activities going on? Are you given a calendar of upcoming events?
- Do the suites or apartments you’re shown match your expectations?
- What is the food like? If possible, try to join the community for a meal to taste it yourself.
- What amenities are available?
- What kind of training do staff members receive?
- Are there cultural and social opportunities nearby?
- What are the contract and payment options? Be sure you fully understand this aspect of the community.
After you take in all of the information and see the community, you should be able to answer one of the most important questions for yourself: Could you see your loved one living there?
This list is simply a starting point - it’s important to use your own judgment when choosing a community that’s best for your loved one. Go with your instinct; if a community looks perfect on paper but doesn’t seem right for your loved one, it’s fine to look elsewhere.
What 305 Can Offer
At 305 West End Assisted Living, residents experience the highest standard of care coupled with luxurious amenities for a distinctively sophisticated lifestyle.
Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and close to iconic sites like the Beacon Theatre, Central Park, and the American Museum of Natural History, 305 West End Assisted Living offers residents not only in-house amenities but the chance to stay connected to their beloved city.
To learn more about the upscale service and surroundings your loved one could experience, request your complimentary brochure today.