Is Your Loved One Ready for Assisted Living? Ways to Ease the Transition
As our parents or senior loved ones begin to get older, we can experience a wide range of complex feelings and emotions. They may seem to depend on us more for day-to-day tasks, may start to forget important details, or may become more prone to losing their balance. Our concerns about their safety and well-being can be overwhelming, and the decision to transition an aging loved one into an assisted living community can be fraught with a sense of fear, confusion, and most often, guilt.
Managing Caregiver Guilt
“Are they lonely? Will they fall? What if there’s an emergency, and I’m not there?” These are just a few of the many questions that may come up as we watch our parents or loved ones age.
This anxiety and sense of guilt over not being able to give enough is often referred to as caregiver guilt. Caregiver guilt is common, and there are ways to help manage these emotions. There are support groups for adult children of aging adults, in addition to many different senior care options. One of these senior care options is assisted living.
It’s not a Hospital, It’s an Active Senior Living Community
You may talk to your friends about your concerns, and they may suggest paying for senior care or recommend assisted living facilities around the community. You think to yourself, “I would never put my parent in a nursing home.” However, there are many senior care options that are thriving, nurturing and engaging communities, a place where seniors meet new friends, find and pursue new hobbies, and are encouraged to maintain their full level of independence for as long as they are able.
At Orchard Park, our assisted living community provides a safe, nurturing environment where seniors can maintain their independence, while still having access to a 24-hour senior care staff, an emergency response system, housekeeping services, nutritious meals, assistance with daily activities, and a calendar packed with social activities, classes, and special outings.
Easing the Transition to Assisted Living
Should you decide that a senior living community is the best option for your aging loved one, there are steps you can take to ease the transition.
#1 Do Your Research
- Before choosing an assisted living community for your aging loved one, do your research. Ask for recommendations, schedule tours, and talk with staff.
- If a senior living community offers respite or temporary care, try that first to see if it’s a good fit.
- Ask what kinds of support groups they have for families and make sure they offer ways to keep loved ones involved and engaged in the senior residents’ lives.
#2 Stay in Touch and Schedule Visits
- Plan your visits and create a shared calendar for you and your loved one.
- Ask the senior care community staff about what kinds of options they have for staying in touch. At Orchard Park, for example, we offer the Smile Program, which gives families 24/7 access to their loved one’s daily activities through an easy-to-access private portal, and also gives families a way to tell the community about their love one’s favorite hobbies, their important life events, favorite songs—anything to help the staff personalize their care.
#3 Make it Feel Like Home
#4 Bring a Memory Box
- Create a box that contains all of your loved ones favorite things and memories. Whether it’s a photo, a notebook, or a favorite CD, these pieces of home help to trigger positive memories and can provide seniors with a great sense of joy and comfort.
#5 Communicate with Senior Care Staff
- Tell the staff about your loved one's likes and dislikes, providing any details that help the staff to personalize a resident’s level of care.
- At Orchard Park, we want to know each resident on a personal level. The personal details provided by families help staff to create WOW! Moments for residents, which are designed to help residents fulfill their lifelong dreams. Whether they’ve always wanted to be on the radio, or have always wanted to learn how to play the piano, we can help make these dreams a reality.
If you have additional questions about what life is like at Orchard Park, explore our blog, talk to one of our senior care advisors, or schedule a time to visit us.
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