When your elderly parent agrees to move into an assisted living facility, it may be difficult for them to adjust to living in a new place. Here are some things you can do to help them feel more comfortable and happy in their new home.
Schedule Your Visits
If you're like many people, you make promises to your parent that you will visit, but allow changes in your schedule and other responsibilities to affect those promises. It is important that your parent can trust you not to abandon them. Schedule regular visits as you would schedule any other important meeting, and avoid skipping them unless absolutely necessary. This will allow your parent to feel that you still value them. You can even put up a calendar in their room and circle the days you are coming, so that they can look forward to those days.
Send Special Packages
Everyone likes to get packages in the mail, and your parent is no different. Getting special packages every now and then can provide a feeling of excitement and let them know that you're still thinking about them, even when you aren't there. Flowers, pictures of the grandchildren, cookies they like and new books by favorite authors are great ideas that will bring a smile to your parent's face.
Help Them Maintain Old Habits
Sometimes, maintaining routines and habits can help people feel at home in a new place. Helping your parent keep up with the things they like doing every day will make the assisted living facility feel more like home. If you know that your elderly parent enjoys going for a walk every morning, for example, talk to the facility staff about having someone go on a short walk with them. Do they enjoy drinking tea every night? Be sure that they always have boxes of their favorite tea with them.
Take Them to Familiar Places
It's important for your elderly parent to have some ties with their old lives. If they would prefer to have their hair done at the salon they've been going to for many years, offer to drive them there for their hair appointments. If they like having brunch at a certain restaurant, take them there for brunch. Being able to visit familiar places can give your parent a sense that their lives have not completely changed, and they will feel as if they have still have some control over what happens in their lives.
Now that you have some ideas for helping your elderly parent adjust to an assisted living facility, use the suggestions above to make them more comfortable. Talk to the nurses and other staff at a professional assisted living facility, like United Methodist Village, for more ideas about what you can do.