Helping a loved one move into a senior home

Like any major change in life, moving to a senior home is challenging. Moving an elderly family member to a senior home takes an emotional toll on the entire family. Unfortunately, while you can delay the move, you cannot avoid it. 

When Is the Time Right?

This is the first question you have to answer as a caregiver and family member. Generally speaking, the answer is whenever the person or couple cannot manage daily activities on their own. There could be several reasons such as:

  • An increase in healthcare needs due to illness or surgery
  • Mental health challenges like dementia and memory loss
  • Reduced mobility due to chronic problems (arthritis, joint pains, etc.)
  • Loneliness because everyone they know has moved 

About 76% of senior living members move there from their own home [1]. Others go after a hospital stay. No matter the reason, the conversation about moving to a senior home is often difficult. Here are a few tips for making the transition easier for everyone.

Focus on the Benefits of Senior Communities

Aging parents often focus on the pain of moving out of the family home. This is where they have happy memories of and with their loved ones. They may insist that they don’t need the extra help or feel angry at losing their independence. 

One way to help is to talk about the future rather than dwelling on the past. Talk to them about the benefits of senior homes. It may be a good idea to have this conversation on a day when something – say the car or plumbing – goes wrong. They can better appreciate the need to have assistance for daily activities. 

It Is a Safe Solution

Most seniors do not have assistance inside the home. It means small mistakes like forgetting to turn off the stove or locked the front door can lead to catastrophes. Mention that senior homes have round-the-clock access to medical professionals. Many residences also provide housekeeping help for daily errands such as grocery shopping.

Become Members of a New Community

One reason for seniors to feed only is that their friends and neighbors are no longer close by. Some have already moved into assisted living facilities. Others have moved closer to their own families. 

Unlike nursing homes of the past, modern senior communities are exactly that – a community. They often organize group activities like movies, art classes, and yoga sessions to encourage social connections. Just because a person moves into a senior home doesn’t mean they should stop living their life or being active.

Stay Connected

One of the biggest fears of adults going to a senior residence is losing touch with family members. Reassure them that you will visit just as often as you used to. Point out that senior residences have Wi-Fi. They can still talk to the grandkids or attend family events virtually. They don’t have to give up their daily routines. It’s just that they have a new place to call home with better access to medical care and neighbors with similar interests.

Involve Your Loved Ones

Fear of being left out is real for elderly parents. So don’t ignore them during the decision-making process. Rather than presenting it as a decision that you have already made for them, show that it is their choice. Involve them in every step of the process.

Evaluate Their Needs and Lifestyle

The right senior home will be different for every person. It will depend on their lifestyle, hobbies, interests, and level of independence. Ask them what features they consider important in a senior residence. Do they want to live in a place that is close to their club, church or gym? Are they interested in the programs or group activities? They may even prefer a residence where they already have friends or acquaintances.

Take Them with You on Visits

You would probably visit many senior residences before reaching a decision. Take your loved ones with you so they can see their future space for themselves. If they like change, talk to them about buying a new couch to fit the rooms or decorating it to their preferences. 

Some elderly people like their routines. In that case, encourage them to visualize their existing possessions in the new residence. Show that they don’t have to throw things away just because they’re moving!

Help Them Manage the Move

Moving to a new place is daunting for anyone, let alone seniors faced with the prospect of packing up all their stuff. Get a few family members to help them with the entire process from start to finish. If you don’t have the time, many moving companies specialize in assisting the elderly. 

The move may be difficult for both you and your loved ones. But as they realize they can do everything they used to, they will settle into their new residence. With time, they may even prefer their new life to their old one!