3 Things You Can Do To Help Your Loved One Feel More Comfortable Moving In To An Assisted Living Facility

When your loved one can no longer care for themselves and needs to move in to an assisted living facility, it's often a difficult time for the both of you. Feelings of grief, abandonment, and worry are common — will your loved one be okay living in assisted living? Will the staff take proper care of him or her? You can ease the process by supporting your loved one's move as much as possible. Read on for three good ways to provide this important support before, during, and after the move.

1. Have Your Loved One Participate in Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

If possible, your loved one should participate in selecting an assisted living facility that he or she will enjoy living in. Go on tours beforehand to meet the staff and see how the facility operates. Participate in group activities to see how they're run. Allowing your loved one to select the facility gives them a measure of control over the process and helps make them feel more comfortable about their move.

You may have already selected a facility or you may be forced to choose a certain facility because of insurance requirements. In this case, you can still tour the facility often with your loved one before he or she moves in. This helps to acclimate your loved one to the environment and also helps you understand how the facility functions — by making frequent visits before the move-in date, both you and your loved one will become more comfortable with the move.

2. Pack Personal Items That Remind Your Loved One of Home

Since assisted living facilities typically have small rooms, your loved one will have to carefully choose which personal items they wish to bring to the facility. Help your loved one choose and pack items that remind them of home, such as personal mementos or favorite books. Don't neglect the small things — a blanket they're used to or even their favorite brand of shampoo and conditioner can help ease the process of moving in to assisted living. For items that can be used up such as toiletries, it's a good idea to bring replacements as a gift whenever you visit your loved one — this reminds your loved one that you're still thinking about him or her.

3. Visit Often, but Respect Your Loved One's Need for Independence

You should visit your loved one often after they have moved in order to help them adjust. You should also meet with the staff responsible for taking care of your loved one and form a relationship with them — tell them about your loved one's life along with any hobbies or dislikes they have. Staff at assisted living facilities love this, as it helps them relate better to patients and makes it easier to care for them as a person.

However, it can be possible to visit your loved one too much — in fact, some assisted living facilities limit visiting hours or don't allow visits from family for the first few weeks after a resident moves in. Staying away for a while gives your loved one a chance to adjust to his or her new routine and allows them to participate in community activities on their own, which gives them a better sense of independence. You'll have to carefully consider your loved one's need for support after the move versus his or her need to live an independent life.

By following these tips, you're doing your best to help your loved one get used to his or her new life, and this will relieve some of the burden on both of you. Remember that it can take time for your loved one to make the adjustment. Once your loved one is settled in, you may find that they like living in their new home better than their old one, and you'll no longer have to worry about their safety.