If you remember Shady Pines from the Golden Girls, the thought of assisted living for a loved one might seem unthinkable. But care for the growing elder population has changed over the years. Now our seniors have the choice of Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Nursing Homes as the need for the extra care arises.
Visit different facilities in your area and see what services are offered as your search begins. You will want to know how and when transportation and if the community serves the area where current doctors are located. Moving from one’s home is traumatic enough without asking parents to also change doctors because the residence does not provide transportation to physicians.
Have lunch in the dining room and meet other residents. This is going to be home, and it helps choosing the right location by meeting the neighbors and tasting the food.
Decisions will have to be made before the move on what clothes will be needed as closet space is probably much less than at home. On a recent project, we added extra shelving from Home Depot in the walk-in closet. Hooks are great to keep canes and reach grabbers off the floor and convenient.
Bring furniture and family heirlooms to the new residence. Adding curtains also provides warmth to interiors. Flat screen televisions give a larger picture when vision is poor and allows more room in tight spaces. But remember, new electronics will mean remotes may operate differently than what the senior is accustomed to working and could be confusing.
Plan an outing with a friend or family member for your parent on the day of the move. It is hard enough to leave home for the last time without seeing the movers carrying items out and being around for the chaos of unpacking and setting up the new digs.
If at all possible, keep the bedroom as it was in their home. This will go a long way to help from feeling disoriented. Plan on being available for the next few days to show where everything is in the new place. But no matter how much planning is involved, there is going to be an adjustment period. New surroundings, new people, new location…rely on the facility staff to do their job during the first few weeks.