As we age, many changes occur, some of which can be challenging to handle. Living alone is one change that many seniors can find difficult.
If you suspect an aging parent may require assistance or a move into an assisted living or memory care community, there are a few signs you should be looking for.
When you’re wondering, “can my parents still live at home?” You have a lot to consider, including their health, happiness, and specific medical needs. You have options if you decide that your parents should transition to a senior living community.
Signs Your Parents Can’t Live Alone
If you’re worried about a loved one living alone and being able to properly care for themselves, watch for these signs:
- Memory problems
- Injuries & falls
- Declining personal hygiene
- Financial struggle
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Trouble keeping track of medications
If you notice one or more happening in the life of your loved one, it may be time to consider a move to an assisted living community.
What Are the Steps to Transition to a Senior Living Community?
Moving an aging adult into an assisted living or memory care community can be a major transition. It will undoubtedly be an emotional journey with ups and downs along the way.
Before moving day, several important aspects of moving a parent into care take place. You can plan ahead to focus on managing emotions, communicating effectively, and finding small ways to make new surroundings feel familiar to your parent.
If possible, begin developing a long-term care plan as soon as you start noticing changes, such as problems with memory or mobility. If your parent or loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia and is in the early stages, planning ahead to find the right community allows them to be a part of the process, making the moving day more smooth.
Don’t Take Too Many Things
Your parents’ new suite may be smaller than their current home, and clutter can create confusion and tripping hazards. If you haven’t heard from the assisted living community’s director or staff about what to bring from home, call them to find out how much is “just enough” to bring.
Some communities provide furnishings, but you should be able to bring personal touches from home, such as a favorite chair, wall art, personalized bedding, a CD player, or Bluetooth speakers to play their favorite music.
Hire a Senior Move Manager
A senior move manager is specially trained to work with seniors. Most movers are only trained to pack and transport a household from one location to another. A senior move manager is someone who specializes in moving seniors, who have different needs and concerns than younger generations.
Their training allows them to reduce the chaos and stress that your loved one may feel as a result of moving to a senior living community. The senior move manager is in charge of everything from initial space planning to post-move settling-in and support.
Acknowledge Your Parent’s Feelings
By making an effort to communicate with your parent or loved one about how they feel, you can better understand and bond with them.
Ask about their thoughts and feelings when they are upset or confused. This step can help you understand what to expect the next time your parent gets upset or disoriented, and provide insights into what’s causing these emotions.
On the day of the move, your parent may ask to return home, ask questions about why they can’t live alone, or express other forms of distress.
In these situations, show empathy. Be supportive and express your understanding of how difficult this transition is. While remaining sensitive to their current emotions, you can help them feel assured that the transition will be better for them in the long run.
Choose a Community That Has Resources Your Parent Needs
Not all assisted living communities are created equal. Some may lack the unique resources you need or provide fewer opportunities to socialize and make friends for your loved one.
Moving is difficult enough, and the last thing you want to do is move your parent again unless absolutely necessary, so selecting the right community is important. Don’t be afraid to book a tour of the community, ask questions, and meet staff members. This can give you an idea of if your loved one will be comfortable and happy.
Following the move, the staff of the community will become an important support system. The Serenity South Senior Living team would be happy to answer any questions you have about the transition.