One of the most important aspects of making the transition into an assisted living facility is helping your loved one feel at home in their new surroundings. This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp, including the family and friends of those making the move to assisted living. We’re not used to our loved ones being outside of the places they’ve called home for so long. Saying goodbye to the room where Christmas gifts were opened, the kitchen where dinners were eaten, and the couches we all used to sit on to watch movies can be tough both mentally and emotionally.
For this reason, a move to an assisted living community is typically regarded as a move away from home. But for that move to be successful, it’s crucial that we help our loved ones to see this as a move to a new home.
It can be difficult for your loved one to see their identity and their history reflected back to them in their new surroundings. Decorating their room with cherished items is a great way to make their new environment more familiar. Maybe there’s a piece of artwork they’ve always loved, a lamp they’ve had on their nightstand for years, or a small statue that used to reside on their desk at work. Help them set up those items around the room. Has your loved always enjoyed plants? Bring a low maintenance plant for them to enjoy.
Photos of family and friends are a great idea as well, whether they’re in a physical album, a digital frame, or up on a cork board. Consider adding the names and relationships of those in the photos. This will make the photos easier to show off without your loved one becoming stressed or upset over a forgotten face.
Along with moving from the place they’ve called home, residents in assisted living may feel they’ve lost their identity or their sense of independence. Personal items can help restore that sense of themselves. In addition to packing familiar clothing, be sure to include accessories like jewelry, scarves, or hats that your loved one is accustomed to wearing. A purse or wallet may also provide a sense of familiarity and control.
Don’t forget to pack favorite bath items as well, such as shampoos, soaps, and toothpastes. Your loved one’s routine will likely change in assisted living, and they may need help with some of the activities of daily living, like brushing their teeth and bathing, that they used to do on their own. But having the items they prefer to use can help preserve that sense of routine. It’s a good idea to store extras in a box at the facility, and replenish them regularly.
A Sense of Legacy
Many things can’t make the move to the assisted living facility with your loved one. This can cause stress or trepidation, as your loved one feels pieces of their history are being lost or discarded. Sit with them and try to select family and friends to whom cherished items can be given. This brings a sense that important items are finding a new home, and will be loved and respected rather than simply discarded.
For those items that don’t necessarily have someone to go to at the moment, but that your loved one doesn’t want to lose, consider a storage unit. Knowing that cherished items can still be accessed can help comfort your loved one. You can even rotate seasonal decorations from the storage unit to the assisted living facility.
At Lexington Square, we make every effort to ensure that your loved one’s move to one of our senior residences here in Chicago, IL is a new beginning. Give us a call at 630.812.7241 to learn more about helping your loved one make the transition to assisted living.