How To Ensure an Easy Transition To Senior Living

The transition into senior living can be hard for everyone involved, it’s a tedious and stressful process that requires the utmost care and consideration. The primary aspect of moving alone can be very emotionally challenging at any stage in life, but especially so for seniors adjusting to independent or assisted living.

What makes the transition so challenging?
A commonly seen challenge with moving for anyone is the act of going through, packing your belongings, and being met with the reality of just how much you own. The beginning stages of moving can be very emotional as you reminisce and pack your memories into labeled boxes.
The process of moving can often be met with resistance from loved ones because of the difficulty of letting go. We as humans attach value to material things and having to let go of those tangible memories can be very challenging, so having someone to reminisce alongside them can help ease the pain of letting go; our memories are some of our most valued possessions after all.
If you’ve ever left behind a home or a place that you’ve loved and felt safe in, you can understand the heartache that comes with that. Leaving behind your haven and sense of familiarity can be scary, overwhelming, and isolating. And regardless of the surrounding circumstances of moving to senior living, even if it is a necessity, it doesn’t make the process any easier. Having support during this transition is essential for that reason. Change is never easy, but it is inevitable and with patience, compassion, and involvement it can help the process not be too overwhelming for all parties involved.

How can you make the transition as smooth as possible?
Ensuring a smooth transition can be difficult, and well, impossible, there is no surefire way to ensure a seamless transition, but there are ways to make it easier.

As this is a big life change being patient, empathetic, and understanding can help abate the negative emotions associated with moving. It may take a while for your loved one to come to terms with the major change, so ensuring a patient, empathic, and supportive environment can help the process go more smoothly.

Involvement is important on many levels and in many aspects. Moving into assisted living can often be isolating as your loved one is removed from their familiar surroundings. Because of this involvement with their environment, friends, and neighbors as well as engaging in community activities is important. Ensuring a strong support system, a sense of community, and socialization will help your loved one to acclimate to their new environment. Involvement from loved ones is also important because of the isolation from family that can occur in senior living. Ensuring frequent and regular visits can positively affect your loved ones’ mental health and happiness and benefit their overall transition. Making an effort to visit regularly will help them adjust and can even give them something to look forward to if you schedule future visits or phone calls.

Maintaining a sense of familiarity is important for seniors as they transition into a new environment. This can be achieved by ensuring they have their belongings such as artwork, pictures, and furniture in their new living space to make it feel as much like home as possible. Personalizing your space helps to create a sense of home. Aside from material items helping your loved one feel comfortable other aspects can also help them acclimate to their new environment. Depending on the level and type of senior living this can include: getting to know neighbors and socializing with them, or getting to know the facilities staff and caregivers. Having familiar surroundings and familiar faces will certainly help your loved one feel right at home in their new space.

The transition into senior living is hard for everyone involved and should be approached with sensitivity and empathy. Embracing change is easier said than done, but it helps to know that you aren’t alone in the process. This transition can be made easier by surrounding yourself and your loved one with support and encouragement. Just because there has been a major life change doesn’t mean everything has changed. With abundant patience, involvement, and a maintained sense of familiarity, the transition into senior living can become a simplified process.

Written for Senior Industry Services by Lauren Hope Bartling