Sending a loved one, whether a parent or a grandparent, to a senior living facility can be difficult; and even more so for the senior in question. But realizing when it’s time to put your loved one in the capable hands of caregivers and facility employees is already a huge first step. Whatever your reason for it may be, the choice is never easy.
If your family has decided to move your loved one to a senior care facility, here are some tips to help you and your loved one with the transition to living in a senior care facility.
Talk it out with your loved one
Before doing anything else, make sure to have a talk with your loved ones first and make them understand why you’ve come to that decision. Depending on their reaction, the move could be made easier or difficult, but it’s important that you let them know before you look for places and book the move. After all, they’re the ones who’ll be living in that facility. They need to have a say about their own situations, even if you think you know better.
It can be hard and perhaps even emotional to start the conversation in the first place, but there is nothing more important than making sure that your loved one agrees to be moved to a senior living facility and is ready for it. If you really see no other option but to move them to senior living, do your best to make them understand why and show them the many benefits that they could get if they make the move.
It’s very important that you don’t put the talk off till the last minute. If your loved is in mental decline, it makes the talk all the more essential; it not only gives them the control to decide for themselves while they still can but also gives your family more time to settle their various affairs, whether medical or financial.
Above all, be understanding of what your loved one is going through and don’t talk down to them or do anything to make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. As with most things when dealing with an elderly family member, patience and empathy are key and should be practiced at all times.
Try respite care before you decide on the move
If you want your loved one to get the experience of what it would be like in senior living before making the commitment, you can try respite care first. Respite care service provides you with caregivers who can care for your loved one for a day or two in the comforts of your own home. They’ll attend to all your loved one’s needs and daily activities, giving them a taste of what it would be like to live in a senior facility, while you get a much-needed break.
Think of it as a trial period before you buy the full program. It’ll give your loved one time to prepare themselves and get used to being cared for by people other than their family members, and they might even change their mind about the move if they get a good experience from it. It might be a slow transition at first, but if your experience with respite care gives fruitful results, then it’ll all be worth it.
Make the new place feel more familiar
So you and your loved one have finally decided to make the move. Great! When moving your loved one’s things to their new room, make sure to pack things that will remind them of home and their family. Bring not only essentials but also precious possessions that carry sentimental value and emotional weight for your loved one. You can furnish their room with their favorite furniture, bring photo albums and decorate their space with framed photos, or bring other keepsakes that could remind them of home.
While it helps to make a new space feel more familiar, you don’t want them to feel homesick or feel like moving back in with you. Bring just enough stuff to keep them happy and comfortable but don’t rearrange the entire room to make it look like the one they just left. It’ll only remind them of their previous home and might make it difficult for them to get used to their new living conditions.
Remain involved in their life
You most likely decided to put your loved one in senior care because you no longer have the time to care for them fully. While that may be the case, that doesn’t mean that you can forget all about them once they’ve been moved into their new home. Always take the time to make frequent visits or schedule ones on a regular basis.
Remain involved in their lives for as long as you can, because the sad reality is you never know how much time you have left. Join them in the various activities the facility offers, such as exercises, mealtimes, or arts and crafts. Ask them about their days and how they’re adjusting. Most of all, be there for them if they need you, and don’t take for granted the time you still have with them.
It’ll make the transition go smoother when your loved one has friends and family at their side and could even help them to make peace with their finite time on earth. Always practice empathy and patience and make sure that your loved one knows that your decision comes from a place of love and well-meaning.