Thinking about having your parent move into an assisted living community can be scary. But the truth is, it’s a good thing. Letting them go into a more structured environment can help them continue living as fully as possible, rather than keeping them isolated in your home. In assisted living, your parent can interact with other residents and get the care and supervision they need for daily life.
However, assisted living can also be isolating if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips on how to make it as enjoyable as possible, so your loved one doesn’t feel like they have been dumped in a boarding house against their will:
Schedule Regular In-Person Visits with Family
As a child, you may have visited your parent regularly. You may have dropped by unannounced for a cup of coffee or gone to see them at work. Outside the immediate family, there may be few people your aging parent trusts enough to visit them in their home regularly. Assisted living facilities are populated with people who may be completely unexpected given that trust. Let your parent know you’re coming to visit and make sure to let them know when you’re coming and going. Get to know the care team, the other members, and the facility layout, so you know where to find your parent.
Use Retirement Community Virtual Visits
Assisted living communities often offer video visits. This way, you can visit your aging parent virtually without leaving your home or traveling to the retirement community. Set up a virtual visit with your parent’s care manager or administrator so they can arrange a video call. Virtual visits are an excellent option for continuing to connect if your parent is in a different state or country.
Interact with Your Loved One on Social Media
Many Retirement communities also offer social media accounts for residents. So, if your loved one is on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, follow them. Interacting with them on social media can keep you connected and help your loved one stay connected to friends and family. It’s important to let your loved one know that you care, but don’t overdo it. Keep the light of the message and let your loved one do the talking. Ask your parent how they feel about being on social media, so you know how to approach it. Don’t insist your loved one be active on social media if it’s something they aren’t interested in doing.
Call Your Parent or Loved One
Retirement communities often offer free calling to local numbers. You should contact your loved ones regardless of their condition. They may not want to talk, but it is important to keep the lines of communication open. If you receive a call from your loved one, do not hang up. Acknowledge the call and tell your loved ones that you will call them back. If your loved one is in a situation where they cannot talk, make sure you let them know that you are on the other line, so they don’t get confused or worry unnecessarily.
Ask Your Loved One’s Caregiver
The caregiver can keep you updated on your parent’s condition and any changes in their routine. They can also let you know when there are important events or milestones that you may want to be a part of. They can also let you know if there are any changes or concerns you should know about. Caregivers are a great source of information and support, so take advantage of their knowledge and resources.