Curing Assisted Living First Day Jitters
Any type of life transition is certainly an emotional time for everyone. On move-in day, all the emotions felt can become overwhelming for your loved one. Although the change will never be easy, you and your family can provide emotional and physical support throughout the moving process.
Shaking Assisted Living First Day Jitters
It is important your loved one feels as little tension as possible. Here are a few tips to make the transition to an assisted living community smoother for your senior.
Talk to your Loved One
Discussing worries and fears before the day of the move or in the process of packing is very beneficial. Allow your loved one to express their swirling thoughts and emotions surrounding the situation. Once you understand the concerns your loved one has, you can better develop solutions to help him or her in the transition. Often times, seniors are most worried about downsizing. Watching a lifetime of objects be shuffled through, thrown out, sold and packed into manageable boxes can be daunting. A sense of independence and control over one’s life can disappear during the moving and downsizing process creating tension. Comfort and reassure your loved one the transition is for the best and downsizing is not ill intentioned.
Hire Movers Specialized in Senior Transitions
Certain moving agencies have moving managers on staff with backgrounds in social work psychology or other counseling experience. Although the idea is in its infancy, having a person on site with counseling experience can be ideal. Specialized movers typically offer services in downsizing as well as logistical services. Each senior emotionally reacts differently to change. Those who are experiencing a tougher time in the transition would certainly benefit from specialized movers. Specialized moving companies for seniors can be found via the Internet including the national corporation Gentle Transitions.
Create a New Home
While settling in to the new space, it is important the space is complete before you leave your loved one. Ensure all trinkets, clothes, belongings, collections and furniture are unpacked. Arrange the room to be familiar to your loved one. Place tables, bookshelves, utensils, and knickknacks in the same general order as the décor arrangement in your loved one’s previous residence.
Creating a similar environment will create a much more comfortable living experience. To remind your loved one of his or her home, create a memory book. Before the move, create a scrapbook of your loved ones favorite memory in his or her previous residence with family and friends. A physical remembrance of the joy his or her shared can be carried into the next phase of your loved one’s life.
Share a Meal
Before your departure, be sure to share a your loved one’s first meal in the assisted living community. Like anyone else, your loved one can be anxious when being social in a new environment. Sharing a meal with your loved one in the common areas will allow your loved one to feel more confident and comfortable. It is recommended to sit with your loved ones and current residents so that your loved one will have social exposure with your support.
Commonly, residential senior care facilities offer some type of buddy system for incoming residents. These programs typically pair a current resident with a new resident to act as a liaison. Ensure your loved one is aware of the identity of his or her buddy. If the facility does not offer such a program, request the administration introduces your loved one to a current resident who can help your loved one integrate into the community smoothly and pleasantly. It would also be beneficial to review the activities with your loved one. Help your senior sign up for some activities they are interested in, and maybe even some activities that they have not done before.
Be Weary of Anxiety
Anxiousness is a common reaction to major life change. However, if your loved one is expressing emotions of extreme displacement or worry, it may be a sign of a developing anxiety disorder. With a long joyful life also comes loss and pain. Be aware growing older is dealing with many losses of the familiar. Transitioning into a new space with unknown people can be another trigger. If you feel your loved one’s behavior is out of character, observe his or her behavior for a few days after the move, checking in regularly. If your loved one continues to be increasingly distressed and concerned, contact a mental health professional to offer a diagnosis. Common anxiety disorders developed by the elderly include:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Social Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder