Stay Optimistic, Stay Positive: Moving into Assisted Living

They say, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Change is scary, but having the right mindset makes all the difference. This especially reigns true when it comes to moving your loved one into an assisted living community. 

It is a challenge for sure to get everyone on board, but most families who take the leap often find an assisted living community will further help their loved one maintain their independence, while also eliminating the daily stresses of homeownership. While it may take time for your loved to come to this realization as well, having the support of family before, during and after this transition will keep them more open to this new life journey. 

If you are thinking about moving your loved one into assisted living, it’s important to remain optimistic in order to successfully tackle the challenges ahead. Here are some strategies to help you and your senior family member remain positive throughout the transition.

3 key strategies to stay positive before, during, and after the move 

  • Keep a constant dialogue of honest communication. It’s strange to admit, but sometimes being too positive is a bad thing. Sure, you can highlight all of the benefits of an assisted living community, but make sure the conversation isn’t one-sided. It’s important to ensure your loved one knows they can come to you with their hard questions, concerns, and fears, and that you will acknowledge them all to the best of your ability.

    Truly listening to your loved one will in turn make them more receptive to listening to you. Keeping the communication open and honest throughout the transition will help you, your loved one, and your family feel more satisfied with the decision in the long run.   

  • Figure out a solid packing plan that includes the whole family. Get a head start on sorting through your loved one’s home because it will always take longer than expected. Begin with the smallest room, making “yes” or “no” piles only and continue working your way through each room. It’s important to note that you should not do this alone. It’s too much stress for just one person to take on.

    All family members can take turns packing and even driving the moving truck from point A to point B. Not to mention, this will make for a great bonding experience. Your loved one will have the chance to reminisce over the memories associated with each special heirloom and share these stories with the entire family. 
  • Know that there will be setbacks, and that’s okay. Just when you think you’ve crossed the finish line, that homesick feeling will kick in for your parent. They will tell you they are sad, lonely, and want to go home. These moments are heart-wrenching and you will definitely start to question if this was the right move. However, knowing ahead of time that this is normal and to be expected will help everyone move past these tough moments more easily.

    When this happens, sit with your loved one and talk to them about what they miss. You can’t promise to change their situation, but you can figure out new ways to make their new place feel like home. For example, try to incorporate an old tradition back into their new lifestyle. If your parent used to make pasta on Sundays, bring them a home-cooked meal every Sunday to eat together. 

Building a team at UMC at Collingswood

Perhaps, the most important strategy is making sure you have a team of staff members at the assisted living community to really help with all aspects of the transition. The right staff can and should be a part of your team. At UMC at Collingswood, our associates truly take the time to get to know each resident, as well as their families to build strong relationships. When you first meet our care team, talk to them about your concerns and your parent’s concerns. If your parent is shy or a little forgetful, ask one of our associates to knock on their door and invite them to the dining room or to take part in other social activities happening on the grounds.

If you are concerned about the safety of socialization in regards to COVID-19, assisted living communities like UMC, have responded to this virus with industry-leading health and safety procedures. These guidelines promote safe socialization for residents, associates and families visiting from outside the community. For more information on our COVID-19 guidelines, please read our UNITEDforSAFETY plan in full. 

Making the decision to move into assisted living may not be easy, but our highly-trained associates are available 24/7 to help your parent transition to community living more positively. For more information about assisted living services at Collingswood, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.