4 Ways You Can Improve Your Parents’ Stay at an Assisted Living Facility
As our parents get older, the decision may be made for them to live in a senior housing unit that provides care and oversight by staff and medical liaisons as needed. Moving into a building with professional supervision is an adjustment for many older people, as some might prefer living independently. Here are four things you can do to enhance your parents’ lifestyle in an assisted living community.
Older people who move into a program that provides assistance with self-care or daily activities may feel homesick at first. To facilitate the transition, ask the director about providing some of the elder’s personal effects. Some assisted living residences let seniors bring in a favorite recliner, framed wall art, or some special mementos that remind them of their former home and family members. A beloved quilt or some potted plants will add a cheery touch to the new environment.
Although staff typically work in two or three shifts per day every day, introduce yourself to those that you meet who are caring for your parents. Exchanging names and information about your loved ones can make family members feel better knowing their loved ones are not with complete strangers. Introductions and friendly conversations also enable the staff to get acquainted with you and ask questions about your parents for a clearer understanding of their personalities or living preferences, such as a few favorite foods.
Try to visit routinely, perhaps weekly or monthly if you don’t live close, especially at first. This will help seniors to stay connected with you and not feel abandoned or lonely in their new environment. Send an occasional greeting card, and try to arrange Facetime chats by phone or computer if feasible at the facility. You can also call your parents to check in and let them know you’re available if needed. Hearing your voice, seeing your face, and getting mail reminders will help you all to stay in touch.
Many facilities will help you plan a birthday party, graduation celebration, or an anniversary dinner on the premises. You might also be able to take your parents out to lunch or for visits at your home. Shopping excursions and other fun activities off site help to provide meaningful quality times together for parents who live in an assisted living community.
Many elders enjoy a good quality of life when they move into supervised care. A few steps like these can make the transition smooth for everyone.