When dads retire from work and then eventually move into senior housing, many times they feel like they’ve lost their purpose. Remember when dad was up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays fixing the fence? Painting the deck? Pressure washing the driveway? He was doing what dads do – trying to fix things and make things better.
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For years, our mother has cared for us and as she ages, it is now our turn to gladly return that favor without hesitation. Sometimes, though, transitioning into senior housing can be an adjustment and a challenge for her, as well as other family members.
And sometimes, frankly, it can be a hard conversation.
On May 27 at 11 AM EST, we invite you to a free webinar focusing on caring for your mother as she makes the move into a senior living community. SRI Management’s Corporate Director of Experience, Rich DeLong, will share advice helping to make the move easier and to help those already in a community adjust to a new way of life. Please go to our sister website, SeniorWebinars.com, for more details.
If you can’t make the webinar, here are a few tips to keep help mom feel more at ease during the transition:
Give It Time
Senior living experts say it typically takes between three and six months for someone to adjust to assisted living. That’s an average. It might be quicker; it may take longer. Stay focused on the reasons you made the decision (safety, health, security, etc.). Keeping the big picture in mind will help you through the rough patches.
Visit a Community Often
Only you know your mom, so only you can decide how best to assist them through the early weeks of the move. Many experts will tell you to visit as often as possible. Frequent visits can ease any stress your parent may have that they will be abandoned or lonely. It might be easier for them to meet people at activities or in the dining room if they have a companion with them.
Just when you think you are over the hump and your parent is settling in, things will change. They will tell you they are lonely. They will decide they don’t like their new dining hall friends. They will ask to go home. These moments are heart wrenching but knowing that they are normal and that they will pass, can help get you through them.
Surround Mom with Personal Belongings
Moving to senior housing can usually mean downsizing, or a term we prefer is called rightsizing. The dining room table with two extension leaves and coordinating hutch may not fit in the new space. But what does fit, are photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a familiar piece of artwork. If you need to rightsize the bedroom set, you can still bring a familiar blanket and pillows. The kitchen may be new, but you can pack your mother’s favorite teacup. Leaving a residential home shouldn’t mean leaving behind the comforts of that home.
Build a Team
The staff in a senior housing community can and should be a part of your team. Talk to them about your concerns and your parent’s concerns and actively enroll them in helping with the transition. If your mom is too shy to go to the dining hall for dinner, or they forget when activities are happening, ask if a staff member can knock on their door and invite them. If the team members know what you need, they will help.
If you or your loved one is looking for a community offering Assisted Living or Memory Care in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, call us at (762) 212-5196 to get more details on how a senior living community like ours might just be a perfect fit.