Maybe you noticed over the holidays that a parent wasn’t as steady on their feet, or maybe they weren’t acting quite like themselves. Sometimes it’s as simple as repeating a story a few too many times or not being able to remember names or places. As growing concerns mount, what steps should be taken after the decision is made about moving a parent to assisted living?
Once these changes become a trend, there reaches a point when it’s time to take action.
1. Prepare Yourself and Your Loved One, Mentally and Emotionally.
Making the decision to transition to assisted living can feel exciting for some, but for others this change is approached with a little more trepidation. Big feelings are normal around any transition. It’s ok to let your loved one or yourself experience the many complex emotions that accompany a big change.
You want your loved one to be involved in the decision to move to assisted living. Their sense of agency makes for a smoother transition.
Create an open environment where concerns can be discussed and questions can be explored so that you can all feel prepared for the changes to come. Determine trusted experts who can help you understand the move, such as your parent’s physicians and your contact at the assisted living community.
Be prepared for your parents to participate in a health assessment. This is used to best assess their needs and make sure that when your loved one arrives they’ll receive the care and attention that is designed for their stage of life.
2. Make a packing plan to ensure all items are accounted for.
Some people are great at packing and some of us struggle with what to take and how. Try to work out a plan with your parent about what is most important to them. Use a visualization game where they imagine themselves in their new community. This activity can also help with emotional preparation for moving a parent to assisted living.
Prioritize items that will provide your parent with comfort, such as their favorite chair and blanket, as well as personal items including family photos.
Make sure not to pack items such as medications or toiletries until the last day, or perhaps move those separately and carry them with you so that they’re not in a hard-to-find box.
Consider hiring a packing and moving company so that you can focus on your parent’s and your own emotional and mental needs during the move.
3. Coordinate with the community to create a moving schedule.
Sometimes you are able to do a big move all in one day but for many of us moving happens over the course of a few days. You don’t want to have everything planned and then realize that the service elevator isn’t available or there are certain work areas that staff can’t access.
Coordinating with the senior living community on what days and times are best for moving will give everyone peace of mind and minimize stress. It will also ensure that the community has the proper resources at hand to give your parent a warm and friendly welcome.
4. Ask family/everyone else to help. Moving doesn’t have to fall on one person.
You might be the point person, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the only one involved in moving your parents to assisted living.
Maybe you are the person in charge of contacting movers and delegating who will do what. Can your other family members do the packing? Can another person be the point of contact for the senior living community?
Consider having a friend or family member spend time with your parent before and during the move to help them through the transition as you deal with coordinating logistics.
Sharing the responsibility means that you can ensure your parent is properly taken care of without you having to carry the full burden of their move.
5. Research what your loved one can do and participate in at the assisted living location.
Doing a little research ahead of time can really brighten any apprehension about moving your parents to assisted living.
Researching the interesting events and fun opportunities that your loved one can participate in once they’ve moved to their new community can help create excitement about next steps.
Life enrichment programs at assisted living communities help bring out the best in residents, creating a way to share interests and experience new things in a safe and comfortable environment.
6. Tie up loose ends. Forward mail, change addresses, end utility service, etc.
Once you have the new address, start thinking about how you want to transition other aspects of your parent’s home.
Their mail will need to be forwarded to the new address and their address will need to be updated so that they can continue receiving important mail. Also check anything on autopay and coordinate a date to turn off utility services, such as internet and cable at their current residence, if it will be handed over to a new owner.
7. Celebrate this step in life (if appropriate): have a party or a final gathering at their home.
Having a celebration at the home or a socially-distanced virtual gathering before the move is a nice way to make a lasting positive memory before starting this new adventure. It gives everyone a chance to reminisce. But also try to think of it as the first of a set of new memories.
Big transitions such as moving are a great time to take stock of what is most important in your life and to your family. Peace of mind that your parents are moving to a warm, welcoming, and inclusive community is one less thing for everyone to worry about.
Before moving a parent to assisted living, we encourage you to take a virtual tour of the The Kensington Sierra Madre community.
Reach out to us as we welcome conversations with family and friends. Before your mom or dad moves to our community, be sure to meet our team and learn about our state-of-the-art senior living community. Tell us about your care needs, lifestyle preferences, hobbies, talents, and most importantly, how we can help you feel at home. Afterall, it’s our promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.
To learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care at The Kensington Sierra Madre, click below or give us a call today for any questions. We promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.