10 Ways to Help a Loved One Move to Assisted Living
Summary:Written from experience, Harriet offers her 10 suggestions to help a loved-one with their move or transition into assisted living.
I was in the grocery store checkout line when I heard a man say, Wheres the ice cream with all the fat? I recognized the voice immediately. It belonged to my father-in-law, a retired physician and widower for many years. His question made me smile and it also made me worry.
Dad had suffered a mini stroke and family members knew he wasnt taking good care of himself. In fact, he seemed to be living on frozen pizza and ice cream. Though Dad knew the benefits of a balanced diet, he wasnt cooking for himself or getting enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
It took months for family members to persuade Dad to move to Assisted Living. For decades, he had lived in a beautiful condominium and, as you might expect, had accumulated too much. What am I going to do with all this stuff? he kept asking. Family members promised to help and we did.
These are the tips we followed:
Emphasize the pluses Talk about the benefits: food service, house cleaning service, social activities, hobby groups, safety, and more.
Get a floor plan. This makes it easier to sort items and choose the ones that will work best in your loved ones new place.
Help with sorting. Moving is a stressful experience and having to part with possessions make it more so. We sorted items into two groups, KEEP and GIVE. Then we had an appraiser come in to reject or confirm our sorting.
Dispose of items. Contact relatives and suggest items they might like to have. Keep track of who is coming to pick up items and when. Take unwanted things to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or church rummage sales.
Buy something new. Help your loved one buy something new for the apartment, a comfy chair or picture frame. One purchase can make his or her new place special. Respect your loved ones wishes if he or she doesnt want anything new.
Assist with set-up. Help arrange the furniture as planned, but be flexible. What looked good on paper may not work in reality.
Stock the kitchen. Much of the food will probably come from your loved ones former home. Buy additional groceries if necessary.
Label kitchen cabinets. Its hard to find things when you move into a new place. My sister-in-law put sticky notes glasses, plates, cups, silverware, pots/pans, etc. on the cabinet doors. Dad never took the notes down.
Make it homey. Add some potted plants and, of course, lots of family photos. Dad eventually transferred to Nursing Care. Before he moved into his new studio apartment, I put a bouquet of flowers on the table in front of the window.
Stay connected. My father-in-law thought he would lose contact with family members and, thankfully, this didnt happen. Family members visited often, ate dinner with him, included him in all activities, and planned special activities for him. Though he was reluctant to move at first, Dad loved Assisted Living. "Its wonderful," he kept saying. "Just wonderful!"
Copyright ©Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory