Moving to an assisted living facility can be difficult for seniors, especially those who are accustomed to caring for themselves. Feelings of loneliness, abandonment and even anger over a perceived loss of independence may ensue, making it difficult to get settled and feel comfortable. Many become withdrawn and uncommunicative, even uncooperative. It takes some getting used to, but assisted living can be a rewarding and enriching experience for older adults.
Here are a few tips to help you find your comfort level:
1. Make it like home
Moving to an assisted living facility isn’t a jail sentence; it’s your new home, so have some fun making it look and feel like one. Bring your favorite personal items and keep them nearby. Hang pictures of family, display artwork that makes you feel good, bring your TV, and transfer your go-to toiletries to your new space. Recreate your former bedroom space in your new assisted living apartment—make it your own. It’s a good first step in what can be a difficult transition.
2. Have fun with others
Assisted living communities are very good at creating ways for clients to interact and have fun together. In fact, becoming part of a new group of friends can help you feel like part of the community. Take part in an exercise or yoga class, join a singing group, or start a book club with your neighbors. Anything that gets you talking and finding things in common with those around you can make a big difference if you’re feeling out of place. Many assisted living communities provide educational activities and opportunities to pursue personal interests, from art programs to learning a new language. Some facilities organize trips to the shopping mall, movie theater or musical performances, all of which are excellent opportunities to socialize. Look for assisted living facilities that offer a broad range of activities, and shop around for the best value. Bear in mind that assisted living facilities can vary widely in price. For example, the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility in Ft. Myers, ranges from $1,500 to approximately $7,604 a month.
3. Reach out
If you’re worried that you’ll feel confined to your new facility, make a point of reaching out and helping others in the community at large. If you’re able to do so, volunteer at a local hospital or with a charitable organization. Become a docent for your symphony orchestra or opera company, or volunteer at the local library. There may also be opportunities to volunteer at your facility. Volunteering is a positive way to stay active and ease the transition to your new lifestyle.
3. Make friends with staff members
Your facility’s staff are dedicated and experienced professionals who want you to be happy and enjoy your new lifestyle, and they can help you achieve that goal in many ways. The more they get to know you on a personal level, the easier it’ll be for them to help you fit in, so spend some time with them. Let them know how you’re feeling.
4. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable
Don’t be dismayed if there are a few bumps in the beginning. The transition will take a little time, but don’t panic or give up if you’re uncomfortable at first. Staff members can help you cope with the homesickness you may be feeling. It takes a little time to feel at ease anytime you move, whether it’s to a new city, neighborhood or senior care facility. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if you’re feeling homesick. Those are natural, emotional responses. Take your time and reach out when you’re ready. You’re not alone; there are plenty of people around to help you.
Should you feel the need to talk to a licensed therapist, feel free to reach out to us at Revive at 239-673-0600. We will make home visits should you feel more comfortable in your own home or find it challenging to get out due to health reasons or lack of transportation.