Increases in human life expectancy during the twentieth century mean that your parents may live well past retirement age. Even though they may live a lot longer than your ancestors, your parents may require help performing daily tasks to help them enjoy post-retirement life. They may decide to move to an assisted living community to make sure they receive the help they need to live comfortably. If your parents choose to move to an assisted living situation, the following guide can help you prepare them to transition to a new environment.
Make a List of Assisted Living Requirements
Assisted living facilities provide a range of amenities for residents. However, when you are shopping around for a place with one or both of your parents, it may be easier to narrow down your choices if you make a list of required amenities. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed by the available choices.
Common amenities and services offered at assisted living facilities include:
- On-site medical staffers to help with medication management and other health services
- An emergency call system
- Transportation options such as shuttle buses and scheduled shopping trips
- Meals served in a common dining area
- Laundry facilities and housekeeping
- Recreational activities such as movies, games and low-impact sports
- Exercise rooms and wellness programs to help residents who want to stay in shape
- Physical and occupational therapy
Help your parents prioritize what amenities are most important to them. For some people, a vibrant social atmosphere may be important while people with a myriad of medical problems may place more value on the health services of a facility.
If you talk with your parents about their needs while touring facilities and make a checklist of required amenities, your loved ones will know what to expect when they move and experience less stress when leaving their long-term home.
Check the Background of the Facility
Even if you find what seems to be a perfect community, do not move your parents to the facility without conducting a thorough background check.
Facilities must adhere to state and federal regulations. In addition, states have licensing requirements for assisted living facilities and maintain records of violations.
Some states provide online resources such as lists of licensed facilities, records of any regulatory actions against assisted living communities as well as health and safety alerts that may affect the lives of residents.
Begin Packing as Soon as Possible
Moving from a home that holds years of memories can be an emotional experience for the entire family. As soon as your parents decide that they are going to move to an assisted living facility, you should begin helping them organize their move.
You need ample time to sort through keepsakes, furniture and other valuables so you can decide what to keep and what you can donate or sell. Downsizing may time a lot more time than you anticipate and you may need to rent a storage facility to hold items that your parents do not want to get rid of right away.
After organizing a move, your family will also need to clean the house and make any repairs to prepare the home for its next residents.
Ease the Emotional Transition to a New Environment
Even if your parents are excited about moving into an assisted living community such as Stonehill Care Center, it may still be an emotionally jarring experience. Call often, visit as much as you can and include them in family events such as recreational outings, dinners and shopping trips.
You can also gently prod them to become involved in social activities in their community to ease feelings of loneliness.
Lastly, if a parent shows signs of intense grief or sadness, do not minimize their emotions. Respect their feelings and spend time simply listening as a genuine gesture of empathy.