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Tips For Making the Transition into Senior Living

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - May 12, 2011

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Seniors faced with the upheaval of a move will go through a range of emotions between depression, anger and acceptance. It's your role as family member or caregiver to help make this transition as smooth as possible. This is especially important if the move they are making is going to be putting them in a new environment such as an assisted living facility or residential home. The more time you spend easing into this transition the better it will be for everyone involved. Although you clearly have a target date, you should never rush through this move. The following are some helpful tips to guide you through the process of helping your loved one make the transition into senior living.

Before the Move:

  1. Go through your loved one's home or apartment one room at a time. Many of these spaces will be chock full of mementoes and photos which can trigger all kinds of memories. It will be a challenge to quickly pack all of this up. The best course of action is work through the easy rooms first, take a break and come back the following day.

  2. Help organize their belongings. When moving, there can be three basic piles: Keep, Trash or Donate. When everyone understands the purpose of each of these piles it will help move the sorting process along. This is also the time when you could suggest passing on family heirlooms to other members of the family with assurances that they will be well taken care of.

  3. Allow for personal items to come along in the move. You might be surprised as what your parent considers to be precious. There is no need to dispute what they want to bring along as a memento. However, whatever these special items are you should set them aside in a special box or two and let them be the first things you unpack in the new environment. This can help put them at ease as they settle in.

On the Moving Day

  1. Keep aside medications and a change of clothes for your loved one on the side. This will help if the unpacking takes longer than expected. You can put together a separate overnight bag with all the personal toiletries and prescriptions they might need to get through their first night.

  2. Continue to reassure your loved one that their belongings are going to be well taken care of.

  3. Point out to your movers any of those items or pieces of furniture that might be exceptionally fragile or delicate.

  4. Leave the moving to the professionals. Too often your parent might want to pitch in to feel useful. This might end up leading to an injury. If you have the chance, split up the duties between family members. Let one person supervise the load in while you escort your loved one to their new home. But make sure you give them a chance to say good-bye first.