Usually, our parent is the one who takes care of us from the time we are young until we become independent adults. Even after we are grown up, mom and dad often continue to remain important, supportive figures in our lives.
This dynamic can shift as they age. It may become apparent that mom or dad can no longer move easily, travel alone, or take care of themselves.
Realizing that they now need care can be both challenging and upsetting for all involved. Seniors may be reluctant to ask for help or admit defeat. Meanwhile, their loved ones may worry about overstepping boundaries.
Even after an aging parent acknowledges that they cannot live independently anymore, the process can be emotional. They will likely mourn their youth and the life they built over the years. They may be afraid to make such a big change to a new place with people that they do not know.
You may feel uncertain about the decision, or even guilty for not being able to take care of them at home. Caring for a senior can be very taxing. And you may not have the resources or facilities that an assisted living community has available. In the end, the change is often for the better. Your loved one gets the care, safety, and comfort they need, and you can feel less stress knowing that they are doing well.
Getting to that point is the problem. The best thing you can do is remain positive and help ease your loved one through the transition to their new assisted living home.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings
You are a human being with feelings and worries just like your parent. Don’t neglect your emotional needs during this time. Acknowledge your feelings, even if they are negative like guilt or fear. This may also be a good time to meet with a therapist if you find the emotions to be overwhelming.
- Prepare for Setbacks
Setbacks are going to happen. They happen to everyone. You may think that your parent has settled in, but then they start saying that they feel isolated or dislike someone at the facility. They may ask to go home. This can be a painful conversation to have. Prepare yourself for setbacks and know that it will get better.
- Ask Friends and Family for Help
It’s ok to ask for help from friends and family. You may come across a situation where you cannot be there in person to help or visit. Fall back on the people you love and trust. By having others step in on occasion, you can continue to live your life while your parent still gets the care and interaction they need.
- Understand That Time is Needed
Chances are that your parent will not go to bed on the first night at the assisted living facility and wake up completely fine with it the next day. It usually takes months for a person to adjust to such a major change in their lifestyle and situation. Experts usually say this period can take between three and six months on average.
- Sit Down and Listen to Their Concerns
You don’t have to pretend like everything is positive. Your loved one will have concerns, and you should sit down and listen to them. Let them share their fears and worries. Acknowledge what they say and help them work through it. They will be more likely to believe and listen to you later if they feel that you did the same for them.
- Surround Them with Familiar Things
Your parent probably had to downsize before moving into an assisted living community. Most residents cannot fit the amount of furniture and belongings found in a home that was lived in for years into a smaller space.
You can’t bring everything, but you can surround them with some familiar things. This can be smaller items like a cozy blanket, their favorite mug, or a special decoration. Their new accommodations should feel like home as much as possible.
- Plan Visits Based on Your Parent’s Needs
Frequent visits during those first weeks can help ease some seniors’ minds. Many fear that they will be forgotten. This will help them feel more confident and let them know that you are there for them and always will be.
However, if you notice signs that they are not socializing and only waiting for you to arrive, then you may want to visit less often. You should encourage them to socialize with their neighbors. They may not do that if they rely on you for all companionship.
- Don’t Rush into Buying New Furnishings
You may be tempted to buy them many new things to furnish their room or apartment. Don’t do this too quickly. This can be jarring for them. Instead, take it slow and let them establish a routine and get comfortable in their surroundings.
- Act as Your Parent’s Advocate
You are your patent’s advocate during their time in assisted living. Play an active role and get to know the staff. If something isn’t right or if you have questions, say so. Communication with the facility is essential to your loved one’s wellbeing and comfort.
Assisted living communities in Arizona offer luxurious accommodations as well as other services like medication administration, doctor house calls, 24-hour on-call nurses, and assistance with activities of daily living. Visit the Pinnacle Peak Assisted Living Home website to learn more about giving your aging parent the best quality of life possible.