Tips for Making an Easier Transition for Your Loved One from Home to a Senior Living Community

By: Contributor Last Updated: December 31, 2013

Tips-for-MovingGet a floor plan from the community so your loved one can picture their new space, and figure out how to furnish and decorate it. This will give them some much-needed control over the move.

Remind them of all the daily chores and house/yard upkeep they will no longer have to do.

Compile and sort their belongings so they are easy for them to go through and make decisions about.

Have them pick out their favorite belongings to bring to the community with them – this is another way of giving them control over the move.

As you are sorting, take some time to listen to the memories and stories that emerge.

For the things they can’t bring, give them to friends and family if possible. Sorting through a lifetime of furniture and household and personal items can be very stressful, and bring on feelings of loss. If they find a home with someone they are close to, it can ease these feelings.

Get an activities calendar from the community so they can choose some of the programs they are interested in joining and have something to look forward to.

Spend some time at the community before the move – having lunch or joining an activity, so your loved one can get oriented better and meet new people before moving day.

Hire a mover, and have someone help set up their room before they arrive. Ideally, this can happen while they are on a fun outing with a friend or family member. It will be more comforting for them to see their new room filled with familiar furniture, photos, and favorite belongings.

Once they are moved in, encourage the resident to get out of the room and meet other residents – for activities, excursions, mealtimes, or just spending time in a common area of the community. You may have to join them initially to get them started.

Arrange for a weekly family outing that the resident can look forward to.

Listen and give them time to share their feelings about missing home. They need time to process this move and talk about their feelings.

Adjustment can take anywhere from a month to six months depending on the person.