There can be a lot of emotions surrounding the move to a senior living community. Positive feelings, such excitement at the idea of new opportunities and experiences, peace of mind knowing that care and support will always be available, or eagerness to start living a worry-free retirement lifestyle.
But for others making the move, it can also stir up feelings of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. These feelings can cause unnecessary stress and, in some cases, hold a person back from making the transition into a community that could improve his or her quality of life.
McClellan Senior Living offers independent living and assisted living services in Anniston, Alabama, and we know first-hand of the benefits a senior living community can have on an older adult. That is why we want to provide suggestions and tips to help a parent or loved one overcome the fears associated with moving to a senior living community.
Take Time to Understand Your Parent’s Feelings
The only way to help a parent or loved one overcome doubts and uncertainties is to find out what is causing these feelings. While every person may experience different emotions, a few common reasons older adults are reluctant to move to a senior community are:
- Financial concerns
- Loss of independence
- Being forgotten
- Leaving his/her home
Ask questions to learn what the underlying reason is for their feelings, and above all else, listen. No matter how your parent or loved one feels – his or her feelings are valid.
Empathize & Provide Reassurance
Transitioning to a senior living community is a significant decision in a person’s life. While it may seem like just another “move,” depending on the situation, it can also include lifestyle changes. For example, if your parent or loved one is an introvert who lives alone, he or she may be nervous about the idea of living in a community full of other residents and common areas – unsure how to navigate new relationships.
It’s essential to put yourself into his or her shoes to truly understand their point of view. Once you see where your parent or loved one is coming from, you can provide information to reassure and comfort him or her.
If your parent has financial concerns surrounding the move, take the time to address these. Speak with a team member at the community he or she is moving to and discuss all financial options, as well as what happens should service or care needs change. If you haven’t chosen a community yet, consider speaking with a financial planner to get a more comprehensive idea of his or her financial situation.
Loss of independence is the most common fear associated with moving to a senior living community; however, the truth is, retirement and assisted living communities aim to foster independence. Senior communities will work with a resident to ensure they are providing the appropriate level of care and support for him or her to feel comfortable and able to live as independently as possible.
Combatting the fear of being forgotten often lies with family and friends. If you visit your parent every Sunday for dinner, that shouldn’t stop now that he or she lives in an assisted living community. Most communities, like McClellan Senior Living, encourage family and loved ones to visit for meals, events, or other gatherings.
Many older adults have spent most of their lives in their home, so it’s understandable to be reluctant to leave his/her home. A new home doesn’t have to mean new belongings. Encourage your parent to surround themselves with familiar furniture, items, photos, and keepsakes to make their new space as home-like and comfortable as possible.
Don’t Force or Rush it to Happen
While this depends on your situation, it’s important not to force the move or rush the process if your parent isn’t ready. If your parent or loved one is able to stay in their home for the time being, it may be beneficial to let some time pass before bringing the subject up again. If he or she is reluctant to leave their home but requires care or assistance, consider using in-home care services to get your loved one comfortable with changes to their lifestyle and routine.
If he or she has already committed to a senior living community, speak with their care team as they may be able to provide additional support and guidance to make the transition easier for everyone involved.
While moving to a senior living community is a big change in a person’s life, many older adults and retirees will say that it’s one of the best decisions they have made. McClellan Senior Living in Anniston, Alabama, strives to improve the quality of life for our residents with compassionate care, private, home-like residences, and ample opportunities for socialization and active living.
If you have a parent or loved one considering a retirement community, we encourage you to contact us to learn more!