Advice Assisted Living

7 Tips to Help Your Family Transition to Senior Living Community

Judith Henry

Moving to senior living is a major life change, and that change can be wonderful — provided your family has plenty of support along the way. A good senior living community will walk alongside you, fostering a successful transition for your whole family.

Sandra West“We want to alleviate you of anything that’s stressful as it relates to being in a new care environment,” says Sandra West, Executive Director of Harbor Point at Centerville.

Here are our top 7 tips to support your family’s transition to senior living 

1. Create strong connections.

When you’re in a stressful caregiving situation, you need someone to acknowledge what you’re going through, says Jennifer LaCroix, Executive Director of Tatnuck Park at Worcester.

As you consider communities, look for evidence that they are committed to building a meaningful relationship with you. A community that cares will be patient and respectful of how you and your loved one are feeling about the move — which can work wonders in easing the senior living transition.

2. Find a community liaison.

There’s so much to coordinate when your loved one moves to senior living, from finances and contracts to medications and care. But communities can simplify the process by providing one contact for all your needs. That way, you won’t be wandering the halls or getting lost in a phone tree searching for answers and support.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your point of contact is flying solo. Each department should assist with the transition, working as a team to provide your family with the best possible experience.

3. Demystify paperwork.

You shouldn’t have to sort through piles of paper on your own. A good senior living community will walk you through the process, providing a detailed description of all the forms needed for admission in a way that you can understand. If your loved one won’t be moving in right away, the community may provide information incrementally so you can complete the paperwork in stages.

4. Simplify the medical transition.

After moving into a new community, the last thing you and your loved one will want to do is run around to doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

The good news? Many senior communities offer these services on-site. So instead of driving to a doctor appointment, your loved one can visit with a nurse practitioner right in their room. Pharmacies may even deliver your loved one’s medications on move-in day so everything is ready when your family arrives.

5. Make moving day seamless.

Part of the stress of moving comes from arriving at a new place with all your belongings in tow and trying to get emotionally acclimated while surrounded by chaos.

That’s why Kelly Arnao, Executive Director at The Branches of North Attleboro, coordinates furniture delivery the day before a new resident arrives. This way, she says, the move-in date is just the “resident show-up date.” The community makes sure everything is set up beforehand so residents feel comfortable from the start.

6. Celebrate your loved one’s arrival.

First impressions matter, which is why it’s so important that your loved one be welcomed to the community with open arms. Personal touches like a welcome sign and basket, or a visit from a welcoming committee can help your family feel right at home.

At The Branches, new residents also enjoy the festive tradition of cutting a ribbon on their door upon arrival. All of these seemingly small touches can make a big difference in how quickly your loved one adjusts to the new setting.

7. Seek out family support groups.

Support groups, family advocate programs, and family forums are a great way to get connected with the community and with other families in a safe and secure environment. Listening to and sharing with others in similar situations is a reminder that you’re not alone in whatever you’re facing. These types of connections can assuage any fears you may have and ease your family’s transition to a new stage of life.

Transitions for both the family and the prospective resident can be emotional and the success of your family’s transition is closely linked to the support you receive along the way. Consider these 7 factors as you seek the best senior living community for your loved one.

If you’re just starting this journey, consider taking this 5-minute survey to assess your situation and determine whether it’s the right time for senior living for you or your loved one.

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Making the Move