Making the Decision to Move to Assisted Living

After a hospitalization or crisis at home, you may ask yourself “Do I need Assisted Living?”

Change can be challenging for anyone; not only yourself but your adult children and grandchildren. Work as a team on any potential transition. What are the signs that say you may need help? Have you been hospitalized and family and professionals at hospital share concerns about you returning home independently? Have you had a crisis at home, i.e. fall, forgetfulness affecting your safety, difficulty managing medications, preparing meals, bathing, or even the tasks of cleaning house, taking care of yard or snow removal, getting out to the store or doctor’s appointments? Any of these can be a sign that additional help is needed. You may choose to hire in-home help or begin the process of looking for another level of care.

Times have changed! as levels of care have changed.  An Assisted Living offers many options including independence to come and go as you are able. Even when the choice is yours to move into an Assisted Living, the move can be difficult. Recently J.D. Powers surveyed those in Assisted Livings and Nursing Homes and found the #1 priority to be ‘quality of care by staff’. How do you determine this? Go and visit a variety of facilities and note the interaction between staff and residents.  The transition experience is different for everyone. The key is in the preparation and planning for the move. Be sure and visit all the levels of care available to help you decide on which is best for you.  One of the biggest changes is sharing space with others who you don’t know. It is really no different than moving into a new community except your neighbors are closer. You still have the ability to visit with neighbors when you want to visit or to stay in the privacy of your space when you need alone time. Downsizing can also be a challenge with an accumulation of things you have collected over a lifetime. Working with a Professional Organizer can be very helpful with downsizing. They can help you separate your possessions into categories of keep, donate, pass on to family, throw out or take with you. If the take-with-you category becomes overwhelming, you can store items and make decisions later or even a little at a time.

The emotional transition can be overwhelming as well, even when you agree that you need more care.  Give yourself time to adjust. This is a natural response. Draw on those strengths you have used over a lifetime when faced with a challenge.  At first you may not feel like meeting others but introducing your self to neighbors and participating in one or two activities can be very helpful in acclimating to a new environment. Remember, you all have something in common, “you need assistance.”  Think positive and be flexible, proven to help in adjusting to a new challenge.  the one thing you have control over is your attitude. Tell yourself this is going to be positive, and it will be much more acceptable.  Be prepared and do your research about the facility you choose. It is every assisted living care residence’s goal that the move is a positive experience and if you have difficulty with acceptance of the move, talk with a counselor to help you put things in perspective and develop healthy coping skills.

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