If your older loved one is like most senior adults, he or she most likely loves their home. They built many cherished memories there, and have enjoyed how familiar it has felt over the years. So it’s only natural for them to feel sad, maybe even a bit guilty, about leaving it behind—until they turn their focus toward starting fresh in a new, carefree lifestyle designed for their comfort and enjoyment. You can help your loved one look forward to senior living by letting them know how good it can be.
How to help your loved one look forward to senior living:
Help them embrace their “retirement” from home maintenance.
Leaving a home is always difficult. But change is part of life. New opportunities can invite us to explore new sources of happiness. If your mom or dad is hesitant to move to a senior living community, remind them that this next chapter of life is what they have worked for—freedom to embrace their independence as much as possible, with experiences that celebrate who they are and how they want their life to be. They’ve spent enough time mowing lawns, fixing the roof or waiting on a plumber. And for some, there may be a need for more assistance with activities of daily living. So now is the time to look forward to community living—and all the benefits it brings with it.
Work with them to decorate their new space.
Whether an older adult is moving into an active adult community or one that offers more support services, it’s important for them to feel comfortable, secure, and at home. While making this change usually means giving up a good deal of furnishings, it also can be an opportunity for you to help your loved one choose what brings them joy. In other words, bring the favorite chair, cherished handmade quilt, and lots of photos of grandchildren and friends. Be sure to be positive as you let them know that freeing themselves of clutter and worn-out items is a great way to refresh their days with new opportunities ahead. Gather a few friends and maybe the grandchildren and arrange a decorating get-together where the goal is setting up a new, lesspacked home, but one with warm, familiar memories built in.
Let them see how others are embracing the lifestyle.
Your parent might be more inclined to look forward to senior living if they can see how their peers are doing so. Give them a chance to tour the community and visit more than once to get an upclose look at dining, entertainment opportunities, activities, outdoor spaces and more. They can peek inside a few apartments and meet some residents who might share some decorating tips. In more supportive environments such as memory care, showing a loved one that there are others there for meals can be helpful, as well as an outdoor patio or garden for fresh air, or a common area where family can easily gather.
Educate them on how much senior living has changed.
An older adult who has not visited a senior living community in a long time might have the wrong idea. They might see it as a drab, gloomy place where residents just sit around. Nothing could be further from the truth! Today’s communities are well appointed with rich amenities and contemporary design as well as promote hospitality-based lifestyles that offer a range of opportunities to stay active, healthy, engaged and involved. If your parent is fearful that life in a community will be boring, tell her how much it’s changed. For example, how the dimensions of wellness are often incorporated in everyday life. How dining can be enjoyed in multiple venues and include menus that reflect the chef’s experience and passion for an exceptional culinary experience.
Reinforce that their lives will not “stop”—rather, this could be the perfect time to jumpstart new passions and pursuits, learn new things, and explore untapped creativity. All while receiving the personalized services and support to keep them engaged and as active as they choose to be. Your enthusiasm and confidence in what lies ahead will be a major boost to helping them look forward to senior living.
No looking back: this is the time to look forward to senior living.
At Clearwater Living, we understand that helping a loved one move into a senior living community can be an emotional experience for everyone. We are dedicated to making it as smooth a transition as possible. Our diverse programs, amenities, and events promote physical activity, stimulate the mind, bring purpose and meaning to life, encourage social engagement, provide an environment that’s beautiful for effortless living, and nourish the mind and body. We invite you to learn more.