7 Simple Ways to Make Assisted Living Feel More Like Home to Seniors
September 23, 2016
“Behavioral psychologists tell us that change can be difficult – no matter what our age or personality type,” says Mary Bennyhoff, Lifestyle Specialist at soon-to-open Heartis Village in Peoria, Illinois.
“However, as we get older, dealing with substantive changes in our lives often becomes even more challenging they say. We seem to cling more closely to what is most familiar and comfortable with age.”
“This can be especially true for seniors moving into an assisted living community even though it offers them a safer, more enriching lifestyle. For some, the transition to assisted living might cause feelings of anxiety, abandonment or isolation as they adjust to their new home. However, the good news is that most seniors adjust extremely well to assisted living with a little time, and there several things caregivers and families can do during and after the move to help their loved ones feel comfortable in their new home.”
7 Simple Tips to Make Assisted Living More Like Home
According to the National Center for Assisted Living and eldercare consultant Carol Bradley Bursack, author of “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home,” there are several helpful things you can do to help your loved one transition successfully to an assisting living community. For example:
- Share a Positive Attitude – Your attitude towards the move can greatly influence your loved one to look forward to the good things their new home will offer. Find the balance between support for their anxieties and encouraging excitement. Once they’ve moved in, start referring to their assisted living community as “home.” This action is subtle, but it can make a big difference on how you both perceive their new residence.
- Empathize and “Walk in Their Shoes” – While you might be happy and relieved that your loved one is moving to assisted living where they’ll receive the support and social involvement they need to thrive, your loved one is leaving behind a huge part of their past. Try to imagine this move from your loved one’s point of view, along with all the difficult emotions it entails.
- Make It Look and Feel Like Their Home – Your loved one’s assisted living suite can feel more like home if you decorate the space to match their tastes and style. Display familiar objects from their previous home, such as favorite painting, books and keepsakes, pillows or blankets.
Leading assisted living communities such as Heartis Village in Peoria encourage this and will help you with the process of transitioning their suite into their home.
- Be Present Throughout the Move – Show your loved one that you are there for them throughout the transition to assisted living. If they ask for help, assist them in packing or changing their address, and be there for the big move itself. Try not to take control of the situation (allow your loved one the freedom to arrange their room the way they want), but be available to help at any time. To help them adjust, stay for dinner on move-in day, and visit regularly in the weeks afterward.
- Encourage Socializing – Stay up-to-date with your loved one’s assisted living community and encourage them to get involved in special interest groups or and daily activities they might enjoy. Offer to go with them to a social gathering if they don’t want to go alone. Don’t be too pushy or criticize their decisions about social engagement, but show your support for helping them find their place in the community.
- Show Patience – The most important thing is to be patient as your loved one adjusts to their new home. Feeling reclusive or disheartened right after a big move is normal, and these feelings usually go away with a bit of time. The best thing you can do is show constant support as your loved one gets used to their new home.
- Offer Some Storage Space – Your loved one most likely has to downsize to move into an assisted living suite. This process is often emotionally – and physically – strenuous. If your loved one had trouble discarding things they couldn’t bring with them to their new home, help ease their burden by offering to store some things in your house, if you can. This way, your loved one can switch out seasonal items, redecorate later on and avoid the heartache of leaving cherished items behind.
Mary adds, “Assisted Living at Heartis Village is perfect for senior adults who can no longer safely live alone and still desire an active, engaging lifestyle. We provide personalized care that meets specific needs, as well as diverse programming that encourages individuals to get involved, be connected, grow and thrive!
“If you believe your loved one is having difficulty adjusting to the change to Assisted Living, we always encourage you to ask us for advice and support. Our directors and professional team members witness all types of reactions from new residents, and they can offer invaluable advice to families and their loved ones.”
We Would Love to Hear from You!
If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.
Be Inspired. Every Day.
Offering Assisted Living and A Knew Day memory care, Heartis Village in Peoria, Illinois has a unique perspective on Senior Living that not only changes minds. It changes lives.
We believe that moving to a senior living community is a natural step in the journey of life – a step that should be celebrated! We understand that while one may need supportive care to remain living an independent lifestyle, the desire to lead a full, active and meaningful life doesn’t diminish.
Offering the dignity of private apartments and the security of 24-hour support complemented by Pathway® Senior Living’s Award-Winning VIVATM Programming, services and amenities, Heartis Village welcomes residents to Be Inspired. Every day!
Managed by Pathway® Senior Living, an innovator in Senior Living, Heartis Village provides our residents with the best of both worlds – the exceptional care they need with the inspiring lifestyle they deserve.
To learn more about Heartis Village, please call Kim at 309-693-3960 or contact us online.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Heartis Village for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.