The decision to move to a retirement or nursing home is never an easy one. The truth is that when we are young, it’s something that we hope we never have to do. We would all love to grow old in our own homes. But for many seniors, moving to an assisted living community is their best long-term option. This may be the case for you.
Naturally a move to a new community often feels very difficult, and transitioning to new surroundings usually requires close collaboration between yourself, family members, and the staff at the facility. Choosing a community with great amenities, friendly staff, and positive reviews from other residents is often crucial to making the transition successful. However, there is so much more you can do to feel comfortable in your new surroundings.
1. Stay involved in your own care
A common worry among seniors considering retirement homes is that you’ll have no control. If you’ve always lived in your own home and taken care of yourself, suddenly having less control can be upsetting. But it doesn’t have to be the case. Sit down with the home manager, and possibly with a trusted family member, and talk about your options. Remember that while staff is there to help you, ultimately, you are still in control of your own life!
2. Make your new environment feel like home
Residents are usually free to make some small changes to your rooms. You might not be able to decorate fully, but you could bring your own bedding and small furnishings, as well as photographs, artwork, and other decorative touches. Spending time getting your room just right can help you feel comforted and at home.
Additionally, try to get to know the staff and your fellow residents. Building friendships quickly will help dispel any initial loneliness, and it’s useful for the staff to know you well, as your will better understand how to help you in the future.
3. Ask for regular visits
Many seniors respond better to a change in environment if your see a familiar, reassuring face on a regular basis. So don’t be shy about asking your family or close friends to pay you regular visits! Spending time with you in your new room can help make the new space feel even more familiar. They’ll surely appreciate you expressing your needs openly, and will more than likely be very happy to help you adjust.
4. Don’t cut off your life outside the facility
Living in a retirement or nursing home away from your previous life can lessen your sense of independence, which can make getting used to your new environment a lot harder. If possible, continue to eat at your favorite restaurants, visit friends, enjoy classes at the local community center, or do anything else you regularly enjoyed.
5. Build new relationships within the community
As mentioned, you also need to build new relationships within the nursing home, so that you gain a sense of community. One of the best parts of moving to an assisted living community is the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of wellness programs and life enrichment activities. Take time to investigate the community’s activities and events schedule. Identify the ones that sound appealing to you and make the effort to attend.
While transitioning to any sort of assisted living can be emotional, once you adjust you will be able to enjoy all of the benefits that community life has to offer!