Fairview Senior Living
Blog Hero

Tips for Transitioning Your Loved One to Assisted Living

Contact Us
Seniors in assisted living eating together.

Moving from one’s own home to assisted living can pose challenges for older adults and their families as they navigate this significant life transition. Despite the multitude of options available to address various needs, transitioning isn’t always easy. 

If you’re looking to support a loved one in their transition to an assisted living community, these tips can help make the life change a positive one for everyone:

  • Empathize with your loved one’s perspective on the change
  • Frame the move as something positive
  • Emphasize that this is a journey you will take together
  • Create a sense of continuity and predictability  
  • Help their new space feel like home
  • Pay attention to how the adjustment is going

Following a clear checklist for the move to senior living can help make this transition a positive experience for you and your loved one.  

Understanding the Transition to Assisted Living

Sylvie Cotnoir, the Executive Director of Laurel Place Assisted Living in Hudson, New Hampshire, explains, “Often, older adults must bid farewell to many years of residing in their former homes and navigate the complex emotions that accompany leaving behind meaningful and familiar belongings, places, and neighbors.” 

Cotnoir emphasizes that this transition can be particularly challenging as the prospect of maintaining independence in one’s own home for the remainder of one’s life becomes less viable. She continues, “When this reality shifts, the adjustment can be daunting initially. However, assisted living communities like Laurel Place at Fairview Senior Living specialize in facilitating the seamless integration of new residents and their families.” 

By planning ahead and framing the move as something to look forward to, older adults and their families can navigate the transition to a new home with ease.

Empathize with Your Loved One’s Perspective

It is important to recognize that the discussion about moving into an assisted living community can bring up feelings of loss or fear of change. Providing emotional support, such as acknowledging and validating any feelings of sadness, loss, or fear, can help. 

Sometimes, just knowing which aspects of someone’s life won’t change is all that is needed to create a sense of security during the transition. It can help to address fears by offering to visit potential communities together, meet with staff, and talk with the residents to help alleviate concerns.

Frame the Move as Something Positive

Focus on the benefits of the move, such as increased socialization and the opportunity to meet people with similar interests, the chance to engage in fulfilling activities, less worry about home maintenance, nutritious meals, and transportation, and a safer living environment with assistance close by. 

Assure your loved one that assisted living communities are designed to maximize independence, with support available as it is needed. Cotnoir adds, “It’s important to remind your loved one that although they are moving to assisted living and leaving their home, they are still able to come and go freely. Sometimes people think that when they move in, they are not permitted to leave when they wish, and that’s not the case.”

Emphasize That This Is a Journey You Will Take Together. 

Use language and words like “we” and “us” to show that you’re in this together and you are there to support this transition with them. This kind of language can help your loved one feel less afraid or anxious about this transition. 

It’s important to refrain from implying that decisions have been made on their behalf and ensure they have autonomy and involvement in the process.

Create a Sense of Continuity & Predictability  

During a major life transition, any individual can struggle to find a sense of security. It can be especially challenging for older adults when a transition upends decades of routines done in a certain way, in a certain place—and it often comes at the same time as changes in health and physical abilities. You can help ease the emotional toll of these transitions by working to maintain a sense of consistency in a shared relationship with your loved one.

Discuss how family involvement will continue. It may be helpful to pre-plan regular visits, especially during the initial transition period, to provide reassurance to your loved one. You can also discuss ideas for joining them in activities offered by the community that encourage their participation. 

Two happy seniors doing a crossword puzzle.

Help Their New Space Feel Like Home 

The best way to help a new space feel like home is by asking your loved one what personal belongings they feel strongest about keeping so that you can incorporate some of these things into their new home. Space will likely be limited, so letting them know that you’ll help store or rehome things they don’t use on a daily basis may also ease some of their grief over having to part with much of their tangible history. 

Encourage your loved one to bring personal items that are meaningful and familiar. Cotnoir states, “Assisting them in bringing along as many mementos from home as possible can facilitate the transition. However, it’s crucial to avoid cluttering the space or utilizing furniture that can impede navigation. Displaying family photos and cherished artwork on the walls can also contribute to a sense of familiarity. Taking accurate measurements of the new apartment provides the most reliable guidance on determining what your loved one can bring.”

Pay Attention to How the Adjustment Is Going

An adjustment period is normal for many folks when they first move into their new home, so don’t expect everything to be perfect right from the start. Monitor how your loved one is adjusting both emotionally and physically. Look for signs of improvement in their well-being or any new concerns that arise. 

Are they enjoying the food? Are they beginning to participate in activities? Do they seem happy when you visit? Cotnoir advises that “maintaining open lines of communication with the staff at their assisted living community is important to stay informed about your loved one’s adjustment. Almost everyone, given time to adjust, grows to love the security and friendships that a good assisted living community provides them.”

Making the Transition with Fairview Senior Living

At Fairview Senior Living, our compassionate team is ready to provide personalized attention suited to your loved one’s needs, focusing on promoting health and well-being. Our assisted living services include 24-hour medical support, housekeeping and laundry services, and a wide range of amenities and activities

Reach out to us today to schedule a tour and discover how we can make a positive difference in your loved one’s life.

Resources for More Information

The National Council on Aging

A Checklist for Moving to Assisted Living

Psychology Today

How to Support Elderly Parents Moving to Assisted Living

Written by Fairview Senior Living

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax