When a loved one has to move into an assisted living residence, it’s hard on everyone involved. It can be confusing or frustrating to the person moving in, and it can be heartbreaking to be the one bringing your loved one into an assisted living home. We know that it’s a painful task, which is why we have compiled some suggestions on how to make the transition an easier one for all involved. When moving someone into an assisted living home, focus on these ten things:
- Focus on the positives: Talk about the benefits of living there: laundry service, food cooked for them, other people to socialize with, etc. What are some activities they enjoy doing? Maybe the residence offers those for them every week! They could meet new friends, try new experiences, and enjoy a change of scenery.
- Ask for a floor plan before you move: Knowing what the room will look like will help you both decide what kinds of things to bring. Will those plants work? What about that small couch? And their favorite picture from their mom? What are the things that are important to them when it comes to a space? If it’s natural light, make sure there is plenty of that. If it’s a certain kind of bed positioning or a certain smell that you can incorporate, make sure you can change some little things to make it the most comfortable situation possible for your loved one.
- Sort the stuff: It can be hard going through all your stuff and potentially getting rid of things that are of sentimental value. Help your loved one make a “Keep” and a “Give” pile so they know what is of utmost importance to them. Help them decide on the things that they treasure the most. Bring pictures, a favorite blanket or throw pillow, a favorite kitchen item, and some favorite bath products to help make the place feel like home.
- Get rid of the things not wanted: Contact relatives to see who may want the remaining items, and then make a few trips to Salvation Army or Goodwill to donate the rest.
- Buy something new: Go shopping with your loved one and help them pick out something new for their home, maybe a wall hanging or a throw pillow. It can boost the mood to have a fun new piece in a new home.
- Help with set up: Once the loved one is actually moving in, help them set up furniture, arrange sentimental pieces, and put everything in its place. Make sure that the space is safe and comfortable. Having familiar items in every room is important for your loved one to have some consistency.
- Stock the kitchen: Bring any food that you know your loved one likes to eat, snacks they might want, ingredients for meals they like to cook. It’s helpful for them to feel at home as much as possible. Make sure your loved one is safe in the kitchen. Some people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease should not be cooking, so talk to the nurses and work out a plan for kitchens and cooking.
- Label kitchen cabinets: When you move somewhere new it can be hard to find everything at first. Labeling cabinets and drawers takes away unneeded frustration and time.
- Make it feel like home: Add the family pictures to the wall, hang up the favorite tea towel on the oven, bring the favorite cozy blanket. Little touches like this make it feel a little more like home.
- Keep connected: Visit your loved one often, bring them their favorite meals, take them on fun outings. Remind them that this new phase of life is nothing more than a change of address.
Doing these simple steps can take a lot of the pain out of the move and transition. Being there every step of the way is one of the best ways to care for your loved one.