One of the most common objections aging parents have about moving to assisted living is that they can’t stand the idea of leaving their house. Home is where the heart is, right?
But when that four-bedroom home with a big lawn starts to become more than your parents care to handle, it might be time for them to move out of their home and into assisted living.
Moving away from a familiar environment can seem daunting, and your parents may be nervous about moving to a new environment where they don’t know anyone. But assisted living communities make it easy for residents to create a sense of home in their new apartment.
What Is in a Typical Assisted Living Apartment?
Assisted living communities come in many shapes and sizes and vary in appearance, cost, and services offered; however, most try to design the space so that it feels like home.
Comforts and amenities typically include:
- Wall-to-wall carpeting
- Custom window blinds
- Modern kitchenette
- Walk-in shower
- Spacious living room
- Free self-service washer and dryers
- Individual climate control
- Cable- and telephone-ready
- Private mailbox
What About Shared Spaces?
Many senior living communities seek inspiration from hotel and resort designs for their common areas, so they feel like home, too. Rich colors and soft, comfortable seating encourage residents to visit with one another or with family and friends and take full advantage of the friendly, social atmosphere.
Shared spaces at assisted living communities typically include:
- Elegant dining rooms, both communal and private
- Living room and community room
- Pub and theater
- Barber and beauty salon services
- Four-season porch, courtyard, and patio
- Gardening area
Can You Bring Anything to Your New Assisted Living Home?
Not only do assisted living facilities make the building feel like home, but they encourage residents to bring whatever furnishings will make them feel comfortable in their new home.
If your Dad has a favorite recliner for watching TV or reading, there is room for the chair in his new home. If your Mom has a grandfather clock that has been in the family for years, she can find a place for that, too. Bring their favorite nightstand or beloved quilt, and display knick-knacks around the room.
How Long Does It Take to Adjust to Assisted Living?
Adjusting to the new surroundings may take days, weeks, or months. Some assisted living communities have a resident ambassador program for new residents. Find out if that’s available prior to the move. If it isn’t available, ask the community manager or activities director to match your parent with a person who lives near or has similar interest so that your parent has a new friend from the beginning.
During the first week, your loved one will better understand the routines of the community, such as what it’s like during meals, shift change, and at different times during the day, and they’ll begin to recognize familiar faces.
With time, you'll find that your parents will fit in well and may grow to love the safety, warmth, and friendship a good assisted living facility offers.
Making the move to an assisted living community is a big undertaking. Just remind your loved one that they’ll be able to bring some of their own special belongings with them and create a sense of “home” in their new apartment.
Have more questions about what assisted living is really like? Download our eBook to learn about the ways assisted living has changed over the years, what a typical day in assisted living looks like today, and the staff you’ll usually meet in assisted living facilities.