Adjusting to Residential Assisted Living: 4 key Considerations for Family Caregivers
While moving to residential assisted living can present a whole host of exciting new opportunities for aging seniors, it’s rarely a quick or easy decision to make. Even if your parent or loved one knows senior care will be a positive step forward, the transition from living independently to residing in a senior care community in Colorado Springs can be highly emotional.
Many seniors find themselves feeling upset about aging, or worrying that they will lose their independence or struggle to make friends in their new home. At the same time, family caregivers may find themselves second-guessing their decision and wondering how their loved one will adapt to a brand-new location, routine and way of living.
When moving a parent or loved one to residential assisted living in Colorado Springs, the first few days, weeks and months are vital, but there are things family caregivers can do to make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are 4 key areas to consider to help your loved one successfully adjust to residential assisted living as quickly as possible.
- Their Physical EnvironmentIt’s no secret that the space we live in can affect our wellbeing. When moving to residential assisted living, aging seniors are often downsizing from homes they have lived in for many years. The home they are leaving behind may hold a lot of fond memories – they might have raised their family there, hosted special occasions, or enjoyed the simple pleasures of daily life with their closest loved ones. Leaving those memories behind can be difficult, but there are ways for family caregivers to help their loved one carry those cherished moments with them to the next chapter.Even if your loved one’s new room or apartment is small, there should be space to store an album of their favorite photographs, or somewhere to hang a piece of artwork from their old home. If your parent or relative has a private apartment, it may also be helpful to move in some of their own furniture. Family caregivers often insist on buying brand new furniture for their loved one with the best intentions of making them as comfortable as possible, but it’s often unnecessary (or even detrimental). At a time of change, many seniors find comfort in keeping familiar objects close by.
- Visitation PlansOne of the most common worries for new senior care residents is that they will lose touch with family and friends, so prioritizing visitation is vital. But how often should you visit? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Typically, it’s recommended that family caregivers visit as frequently as possible while their parent or relative is still settling in, but it isn’t always this simple.While regular visits can be immensely valuable to some seniors, it can hold others back. The best way to gauge your loved one’s reaction to visits is to speak to staff members at their residential assisted living community. Does your loved one become more relaxed after your visits, or do they become agitated, upset or withdrawn? Are they sitting in their room all day waiting for you to stop by rather than getting out into the community? If your loved one is relying on you and other family members for social interaction, it might be beneficial to give them a week or two to explore the community and form friendships independently.
- Their Support Network
Having a strong support network is vital during a move to residential assisted living. During this time, your parent’s support network might include close family members and friends, as well as staff members in their new senior care community. Not only will having a strong support network help them in their transition, but it will also take the pressure off you as their primary family caregiver.If your loved one is benefitting from regular visits, but you can’t go as often as you would like, is there someone else who would be willing to pay them a visit? In the initial weeks and months, it may be useful to draw up a schedule, with different family members visiting at a time that suits them each week or two. Regular visits from different family members can help reassure seniors that they have a strong support network, and that they are not going to be forgotten.
- Their Routine and Unique Needs
Forming a routine that works for your loved one can really help them settle into life in a new senior care community. Did they have a daily routine they enjoyed while living independently? If so, it might be useful to ask residential assisted living caregivers if it’s possible to incorporate those beloved daily rituals into their new routine, retaining that precious sense of familiarity.Nobody knows an aging senior better than their family caregiver, so when your loved one moves to residential assisted living, don’t be afraid to be their advocate! Speak to the management team about any specific requirements or adjustments that can be made to help them adapt as quickly as possible. We appreciate the value of family caregivers and encourage residents’ family members to be closely involved in their care from the start.
To find out more about Columbine Chateau’s commitment to helping new residents adjust to life in senior care, give us a call or arrange a tour today!