Tips for taking the next step
Making the decision to explore a senior living community for a loved one can be challenging and emotional for everyone involved, even when it is the right choice. Feelings of grief, anxiety or fear are common, and can make it confusing to navigate your next steps forward. To make the process easier, it’s important to acknowledge your emotions, keep the benefits and the “why” top of mind, and focus on making the adjustment as smooth as possible.
Give yourself and your loved one time to process your emotions
First, you and your loved one should take the time to process the complex feelings that come along with this decision. Facing a new life phase, your loved one is likely feeling nervous, overwhelmed or any number of other emotions, compounded by fears of losing their independence and maybe a cherished family home.
As a caregiver, especially if you have been the primary caregiver for a long time, you may be experiencing feelings of grief and guilt. Many caregivers feel as if they’ve failed if they can no longer provide the level of care their loved one needs to remain at home. However, remember that the decision to move a loved one into senior living is not a reflection of your ability as a caregiver. Caregiving is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging and requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. It’s not something that any individual can do indefinitely, especially as your loved one’s needs change over time.
Remind yourself that transitioning your loved one into a senior living community is a decision made out of love and concern for their well-being, and it doesn’t diminish the care and support you’ve provided up to this point. Instead, you’ve recognized that it benefits everyone to bring additional support into the care team.
Focus on the benefits that senior living brings
It’s easy for caregivers and their loved ones to focus on perceived losses when moving to a senior living community, rather than on actual gains. As you go through this process, make sure to reflect on the positives. One of the major benefits is that day-to-day care is handled by trained professionals who are dedicated to providing the best possible care for their residents. With your loved one’s daily needs met by your care partners, you’ll now be free to spend your time together doing fulfilling activities you both enjoy.
“My mother-in-law and her sister have been living happily at Belmont Village for about a year now, and it has been an absolute game changer for them,” says Scott.
Another advantage is that it grants greater stability for your loved one in the long term. While it may be stressful now, finding a senior living community that can meet your loved one’s evolving care needs means there’s no need to move in the future. For example, choosing a community that can provide health care across its entire campus allows residents to remain active with friends and neighbors in their new community while getting the level of care they each need. This is especially beneficial for couples with differing personal care needs, as you can typically continue to live together even when one partner needs a higher level of care.
Finally, many people are surprised by how a senior living community actually grants more independence and enables greater personal connections than they may have had at home. In a community, the day-to-day work of meal preparation, housekeeping, home maintenance and personal care support are taken care of, which allows residents to spend their time doing what they enjoy. Enrichment-focused senior living communities offer a robust schedule of activities, classes and excursions, and residents often find their social circle and interest in hobbies expands significantly. For instance, Belmont Village provides a vibrant calendar of social and enrichment activities 7 days a week, which contributes to higher levels of engagement and slower rates of cognitive decline than found in people who are more isolated. Programs and activities are adapted to encompass a range of physical and cognitive ability levels, so that each resident can have a rewarding and purposeful experience.
Tips for selecting a senior living community
Still, even knowing these benefits, any major life transition can be challenging to handle. One way to ease the stress is to involve your loved one as much as possible. Talk to them about their needs and concerns, and make sure they have a voice when it comes to choosing the right community.
There are many different types of senior living communities available, from independent living communities, to assisted living, to skilled nursing facilities. Take the time to research different options, and visit communities in person to get a feel for the environment and the level of care provided. Finding a place that feels like a good fit can help ease some of the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with a move like this.
“We did extensive research before making a decision to place my father-in-law in the care of the incredible individuals at Belmont Village,” said CJ. “Most important to us was their cognitive and behavioral programming for individuals who require memory care. At Belmont, they truly apply research combined with each resident’s very specific individual needs.”
Want more information?
Our Family Advisors are available to answer any questions you may have about senior living options. Click here or call 844-201-7247. We’re here to help.
Not sure if now is the right time? Take our assessment to see if transitioning to senior living might be the best choice for your loved one.