Tips to Help Your Loved One Adjust to a Retirement Home

By sdugas - February 26th 2014.

Change is never easy. This is especially the case as we age. Making the transition from independent living to a more communal long-term care facility or retirement home can be an emotionally overwhelming and confusing process for older individuals and retirees. In fact, the typical adjustment period can span up to six weeks as elderly individuals start to form new habits and daily routines.

The following are some tips on how you can help your loved one adjust to their new life at a Sharon Village Care Home. 

Do Your Research… Together

Adult Son Assisting Elderly ParentsWhen comparing different retirement facilities, it’s crucial that you include your loved one in the research process. Visit several facilities together, staying a while to observe the staff, residents, accommodations and recreational opportunities. Better yet, book a short term stay at a facility and let your loved one experience the daily activities firsthand. Your loved one will have a much easier time adjusting to life in a retirement community if they’ve had the chance to familiarize themselves with their surroundings prior to making the move.

Let Them Decide

If your loved one is of sound mind, let them have the final say in where they want to live. It’s their life, after all. By all means, provide them with your opinion, but ultimately it should be their decision. Having the independence to make this choice will empower them and help lessen their feelings of loss. Help them further adjust to their new life path by letting them handle as much of the planning and moving process as they want. This includes letting them decide what they want to take with them and what they want to get rid of. This will be a difficult process for your loved one, so do try to be patient. Give your elderly parent the time and space they need to process their memories and come to terms with their past before moving into a retirement home.

Help Them Get Settled

It’s not uncommon for seniors to suffer from feelings of isolation and loneliness when they first move into a retirement community or long-term care facility. Help your loved one avoid these feelings by staying actively involved in their life during the first few months in their new home. Visit frequently and do whatever you can to help them with a smooth transition. A great way to help ease the feelings of uncertainty when moving into a retirement home is to incorporate meaningful possessions into their new surroundings. Make it feel like home with furnishings, photo albums – anything that provides them with a sense of comfort and self.

Looking for additional tips to help get your loved one settled in a retirement community? This checklist from the staff at Sharon Village is a great place to start!

Encourage Participation Inside (and Outside) of the Retirement Home

Seniors can suffer from bouts of insecurity, just like you or I. Help them overcome these feelings by encouraging them to participate in activities offered within the retirement community. Over time, this participation in group activities help seniors return to the contributing roles they had earlier in their lives. Interactions and relationships are what give life meaning, after all.

While social interaction within the retirement community is important, so to is keeping up relationship outside of the community. Help your loved one continue any interests they had prior to moving into the retirement home by offering to accompany them on afternoon excursions.

What to Do If Something Feels Wrong

Both you and your loved one are going to encounter a rollercoaster of emotions during the transition process. Feelings of agitation, sadness, confusion and anger will surface at one point or another. That being said, you know your loved one’s personality. If something isn’t right after a few months in the long-term care facility, don’t hesitate to broach the topic with staff members. Many of the staff members at Sharon Village Care Homes have backgrounds in social work, clergy, etc., which can come handy when a resident is having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings.