Making the decision to move a loved one into a retirement home is never easy. Fortunately, there are ways you can make the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible. Following are eight tips you can use to help facilitate this important move with both dignity and grace.
1. Give Time to Adjust
Moving into a retirement community is a major adjustment for everyone involved. Make sure you give your loved ones plenty of time to acclimate to their new arrangements and understand they may be emotional for the first several weeks. You know your parent best, so allow them the time and space necessary to process this significant change in their life.
2. Visit Them as Often as They Request
Your loved one may want frequent visits over the first few weeks, or they may prefer to not see anyone while they adjust to these changes. Make sure you respect your loved one’s wishes and try not to take it personally if they request to be left alone for a while.
3. Get Other Relatives Involved
You may not be able to single handedly provide your loved ones with the support they need while they adjust to their new arrangements. This is especially true if you’re one of the millions of people who are caring for their elderly parents while also raising a young family.
Get your relatives involved and designate a day in which each person spends some time with your loved one. Not only will this provide them with the support they need but it will also free up some of your time to tend to your own family and work life.
4. Become Your Loved One’s Advocate
The quality of care that your loved one receives while in a retirement home is important. If your parent’s cognitive skills are in decline, they may not have the capacity to advocate for themselves. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you step in and become their voice if a concern arises.
You may also need to become their advocate if they express apprehension to speak up. Alerting staff to your parent’s needs will enhance their quality of life and ensure they are getting the compassionate care they deserve.
5. Stay Optimistic but Acknowledge the Difficulties
While you want to remain optimistic with your loved ones about the changes in their living situation, you also want to acknowledge the difficulties. It’s important to allow your parent to vent about their situation.
You should also allow yourself to fully experience the difficult emotions you may be dealing with as well. By acknowledging the difficulties you are both facing, you will strengthen your bond and allow them to process their emotions more thoroughly.
6. Fill Their Room With Mementos and Precious Belongings
Make sure you use a reputable moving company that is experienced in handling retirement home transfers.
For example, New Haven movers are aware of the special considerations that must be taken and the sensitivity that should be exercised when packing special mementos and belongings.
Make sure you inform the movers of which items, in particular, will be moved into their new home and which items are to be stored.
7. Refrain from Purchasing Unnecessary New Items
Your loved one is undergoing enough change as it is. Make sure you don’t go overboard and purchase new high-tech equipment or fancy coffee makers. The best thing you can do during this time of transition is to keep their familiar belongings and only make upgrades upon their request.
8. Know How to Set Healthy Boundaries
It can be extremely difficult to watch your loved one struggle with these necessary changes, however, it’s important to know how to set healthy boundaries as well. You have your own needs to attend to, and your family needs you too.
While you should free up extra time, in the beginning, to help your loved one adjust, it is just as important that you don’t fail to take care of your own personal needs and obligations as well.
Helping your loved one move into a retirement home is one of the most challenging tasks you will ever face. By using these tips to ease their transition you will help your loved ones stay safe and receive the compassionate care they need to enhance their quality of life.
Written by: Samantha Higgins
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.