How to Help Your Parent Embrace Her New Senior Community

December 16, 2014


Your mother may view moving into a senior community with trepidation. Although it’s natural to fear such a major change, odds are that this milestone will be a positive experience – especially since you will be involved. Here are ways you can help your mother make the transition before and after the move.

Research the community

Before approaching a community, you and your mother should determine which type best suits her needs. Today’s residences include:

  • Active adult communities
  • Senior apartments
  • Independent living communities
  • Assisted living residences
  • Nursing homes
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Home care (non-medical)
  • Home health care
  • Adult day care

Once you determined the type of community that’s most suitable, it’s time to examine which services appeal to her. Some of the basic options are:

  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Health and medical
  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.
  • Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care
  • Twenty-four-hour safety and security
  • Emergency call systems in every residence
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Medication management
  • Recreational and social activities

Take a tour

After compiling a list of possible communities, it’s time to schedule an appointment for a visit. Pay attention to as much as possible, including whether:

  • The facility’s grounds are well maintained and easy to navigate
  • There are ample conveniences (grocery stores, cleaners, etc.) in and around the community
  • The facility is located near a hospital

Be sure to ask plenty of questions and make multiple visits, if necessary.

Get to know residents and staff

The best way to determine whether a community suits your parent is by talking to residents and staff members. Go beyond first impressions by engaging in as many conversations as possible. Prepare questions beforehand and listen carefully to their responses.

Participate in events, if possible

Take advantage of any opportunity to participate in activities, noting whether:

  • The activities and events are well attended
  • The activities match your loved one’s interests
  • The events and activities vary in size and type

After you and your mother have chosen a facility, the next phase of her transition begins.

Get involved

You and your parent made a careful, informed choice about the senior community the two of you selected. Now she can embrace her new surroundings. Your role is to encourage her to immerse herself in this new culture.

Form new friendships

According to the 2009 Independent Living Report by the ProMatura Group LLC, research shows that when someone becomes part of a senior living community, he or she is more likely to make new friends. In fact, most people report a better experience than they expected. Encourage your mother to seize the opportunity to make new friends.

Thorough preparation and lots of encouragement are key factors in your parent’s willingness to embrace her new senior community.

For more information on the challenges of aging, download the “Parent Care Guide.”

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