When your parent moves to an Assisted Living or other senior living community, you may become apprehensive about the change in your relationship. After all, it’s likely that you considered your parent’s previous residence yours, too, because you were raised there.
You probably felt comfortable going in without knocking, getting a snack from the refrigerator, and asking your parent to store some of your things.
In a new residence, the rules have changed, and you may not feel as relaxed. You may even wonder whether it’s a good idea to bring the kids or grandkids to visit.
The Rules Haven’t Changed
Just because your parent has moved to an Assisted Living community doesn’t mean the rules have changed. Your parent is still in control of their living space, just as they were before. They still have a kitchen, bathroom, ample living space, and a door that locks, just as they had before.
Feel free to drop by and visit, just as you did before. However, it may be a good idea to call, because most Assisted Living communities offer many programs customized to your parent’s wants and needs.
And, you’ll probably have to get used to enjoying the company of your parent. Why? If your parent lives in an assisted living community:
- You no longer have to run errands.
- You no longer have to take your parent to doctor’s appointments.
- You no longer have to help with home maintenance or repair, including shoveling the walks or putting in storm windows.
- You no longer have to worry about personal care, such as helping your parent take a bath or dress.
- You no longer have to monitor your parent’s medication.
- You no longer have to worry about being able to make it to their house in bad weather.
- You no longer have to spend sleepless nights, concerned your parent has fallen and is injured.
How to Spend Time with Your Parent in Assisted Living
Now that you’ve got all that free time, what do you do with it? In most Assisted Living communities, there is plenty to do on campus. Each month, residents receive an activities calendar. A typical calendar at The Arbors will include musical entertainment, arts and crafts, brain-training activities, exercise classes, shopping trips, religious programs, and more.
Many Assisted Living communities, such as The Arbors, also offer a private dining room for special events, such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, or other celebrations.
Can Grandkids and Great-Grandchildren Visit?
If you’re concerned about bringing young children or grandchildren to visit, don’t be. Young ones are always welcome. In fact, because of the benefits of intergenerational interaction, most senior living communities provide regular opportunities for school children to visit.
The kids are welcome to participate with Grandma or Great-Grandma in indoors programs or go outside. For example, each one of The Arbors residences has walking paths and a community garden, and most also have a courtyard. This is not unusual among Assisted Living communities.
However, some children are not accustomed to being around older adults. Most residents, on the other hand, love children and are likely to try to talk to them. Add to that the confusion of their grandparent or great-grandparent living in a new place, and they may become upset. Talk with them before their visit to ensure they’re prepared. Experts say if you’re open and accepting, the children will follow your lead.
Can My Parent Leave?
Your parent’s independence is not limited in an Assisted Living community. In general, unless they have problems with memory, cognition, wandering, or getting lost, they can go anywhere they want at any time.
Even if your parent has problems with memory, they are free to go with you for a few hours to attend a school program or visit a friend or for days to vacation with family. And they can return at any time, no matter how late or early.