The Long Road: From Home to Senior Living
There comes a time when you or the loved one in your life needs to leave their home and move into senior or assisted living. From finding the right fit for senior living to managing the applications to downsizing, the move into senior living is not as simple as usual. Here are some things to remember and consider as you move.
1. Research. Understanding your living options is the start of the process. Once you have established with your aging loved one that a move is correct, you must understand all your senior and assisted living options. Do your research. Use tools such as our timeline and financial calculator to help you discover your best options for senior living. (For more information on your senior living options, see Family Doctor.)
2. Finding the Right Fit. Senior housing and assisted living demand is high. With the ever-increasing aging population, finding the right community and care may be challenging; it can be even more complicated if you have financial needs. Start the process as early as you can. There is more paperwork than a standard lease or rental agreement, especially if any care needs will be required. We advise you to start looking at least one year before you plan to begin the transition.
3. Downsizing and Preparation. When seniors move into senior living or assisted care, they often leave a home they’ve had for many years. If this is the case, you will need to downsize. Years of belongings accumulated in a packed house of furniture and knick-knacks will need to be culled down to what is most important to the senior and what is required. Downsizing can take months or even years; fortunately, some professionals can help with downsizing. Also, take into account how much the senior who is moving wants to be a part of the process. Often, loved ones and family members take charge of this part of the moving process. (For more help on downsizing, see Rocket Mortgage.)
4. The Big Move Itself. Family and friends play a significant role in moving senior loved ones. From getting the quotes to managing the schedules, many details can be overwhelming or unmanageable for the senior. Remember, this moving day is stressful and emotional for most seniors. They will need help and support for the move.
5. The Adjustment Period. Once the move has been made, there is an adjustment period. There is unpacking and getting settled, of course, but also getting to know the community, the staff, the neighbors, and the activities and schedules. Family and friends can help during the adjustment period by accompanying their loved ones as they meet staff and caregivers, explore the common areas, and learn the schedules of meals and activities. Feeling comfortable and confident in a new community and living environment takes time, and support from family and friends can ease the transition.
When is assisted living necessary?
As parents or loved ones age, they may not be the best steward of their health and safety. Start by speaking with other family members, caregivers, and the loved one's physician. Health and safety are the most important, and feedback from a doctor or licensed caregiver can give insights into the health concerns and safety issues. In addition, your ability to take some actions could depend on the state of physical and cognitive health and legal standing.
When to move your parent to assisted living?
The best scenario is finding a community and getting them settled into place before a health crisis arises. When an emergency happens, the decision needs to be made immediately, and the community of their choice may not have any availability. This could then possibly force your parent to move to a community that does not meet all of their needs in the long run. The goal should always be to get them in place for the continuum of care to avoid additional moves.
What is senior living?
Senior living is a community offering apartment style homes or detached homes for seniors typically over age 55. This type of community may offer social interaction and support group activities, excursions & community dining rooms.