Easing The Transition to Retirement Home Living

Moving into assisted living or a retirement community can be a significant adjustment for seniors who may feel abandoned, betrayed or they are losing their independence.  There are steps adult children can take to help ease this transition and make the move as smooth as possible.

1.Visit the new living space frequently before making the move.  Eat a meal with your parent and help them become more familiar with the staff and the setting.  

2. Bring items from home to create a sense of familiarity in the new living space.  While not everything can be moved into a smaller home, the sitting room and bedroom can be nearly a duplicate of how things were set up before, giving an immediate sense of comfort.  

3. Try to encourage participation in community activities.  Getting involved in the assisted living activities or volunteering in the library or with a club can make a big difference in how the new situation is received.

4. Encourage independence.  While it is important to visit frequently, especially early on in the move, gently encourage your parent to make their own decisions.  Give lots of positive reassurance that this change is a new beginning full of possibility rather than the end of something.

It usually takes a resident about two to four weeks to adjust to the move into a senior community.  No matter what your age, moving is stressful and the shift to assisted living can be a difficult transition if parents feel this is one step closer to the end of life.   

How children and family frame the move will be essential in helping to ease the transition.  Try to focus on all the positive aspects of the move while listening to respectfully to concerns. Approach this new stage with love, and assure your parent(s) you want them to be safe, happy and well cared for in this chapter of life.