The following is a guest post from Ruth Folger Weiss, a blogger for Kearsley Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Deciding to make the move into a senior living facility is a major life decision for a family with elders. This decision should be carefully discussed prior to deciding on which community is right for your elder. With the right course of action, you'll be able to find a home that your parents or other senior family members can feel comfortable living in.
Before the Move: Prior to making a decision on a senior living facility, families and elders should:
- Plan a meeting. This should involve everyone, including your elder's doctor and the staff of the potential senior living facility you are looking into. This will not only help your parent feel better about the decision, but give them an idea of all there is to look forward to when they make their move.
- Understand what is offered. Be sure that the facility offers the care that your family member needs. Take a tour of the place and look at the physical therapy or dining facilities. Are they clean? Are they up-to-date? Are there any noticeable issues? Have a discussion with the staff to find out what their hours are like, when medications are administered, and any other questions or concerns you may have.
- Consider the commute. You'll want to plan visits to see your elder, so make sure the facility is within a close travel distance. Talk with other family members and see how long they're willing to commute to visit the senior living facility you are considering.
- Trust your gut(s). An initial reaction can weigh a lot when it comes to making this decision. Consider your first impression of the facility, as well as your elder's first impression, before you settle on a decision.
The Moving Process: Moving into a new environment can become very overwhelming, especially for the elderly. In order to make this adjustment easier becoming resident of a senior living facility, elders should:
- Be active in their new community. Senior citizens are encouraged to socialize with one another at the Kearsley Philadelphia nursing home and nursing homes around the country. It's important for seniors to get out of their apartment, stretch, and talk with other residents. Try attending an event that is going on, like a movie night or gaming hour. This will make interacting less stressful, and there will be other residents there who share a common interest!
- Ask questions. Never be afraid to state discomfort or ask questions about medications, meal times, or physical therapy. Talk with the staff at your senior living facility. They'll help you to understand your new routine and make any adjustments necessary to make you as comfortable as possible in your new home.
- Be open-minded. Moving all of your belongings into a new location and constantly being supervised might be a little overwhelming at first, but keeping an open mind and being understanding of the situation will make your transition easier. A lot of time and careful planning went into this decision. Knowing and understanding that should make the process less stressful.
After the Move: Children and grandchildren also play a role in the moving process. The family should:
- Be supportive. Having a loving family to rely on during this time is the most important thing your elder will need. Guide them through the process, answer any questions or concerns that they may have, and remind them how much you care.
- Help out with the move. Assist your loved one move in and make the space their own, but don't hand-hold. When they're all settled, leave to give them space to become acquainted with their new surroundings and neighbors.
- Keep in touch. A phone call or weekly visit will mean so much more to an elder, especially right after their move. Spend time catching up and discussing what they love about their new home. Have them introduce you to friends and staff, and see what their new daily routine looks like.
- Neglect guilt. You may feel a ping of guilt when you leave your elder in the care of someone else, but caregivers at nursing facilities are trained to care for elders. Once you've found the right community, be confident in that choice.