Making the Move to Assisted Living

Making the Most of Family Visits and Building Relationships with the Caregiving Team

2-blog-How to Get Involved in Your Loved Ones Senior Living Community

Many older adults fear moving to assisted living because they worry their family won’t visit. As a caregiver, you might also fear becoming unnecessary once your loved one settles in. However, caregiving doesn’t end once your loved one moves into a senior living community — it evolves.

With daily age-related changes, you and your loved one likely have questions and concerns about what lies ahead: What is your role as a caregiver? How often should you visit? How can you best help your loved one adjust to their new living environment? How do you cope with your feelings about the move?

Moving is a significant transition for your aging loved one and your family. Just as navigating the fine line between caring and controlling can be challenging, finding the right balance between involvement and interference in their new living situation is crucial.


Enhancing Family Visits in Assisted Living

Visiting your loved one in assisted living can strengthen bonds and provide crucial support during their transition. Here are some tips to make the most of your visits and ensure they are enjoyable for both you and your loved one:

Plan Regular Visits

Establish a regular visiting schedule that works for both you and your loved one. Consistency can help maintain a sense of routine and anticipation. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, having a predictable schedule can provide comfort and something to look forward to.

Participate in Activities Together

Many assisted living communities offer a variety of activities and events. Participating in these activities with your loved one not only gives you quality time together but also integrates you into their new social environment. Whether it’s a game night, a craft session, or a community outing, these shared experiences can create lasting memories.

Personalize Their Space

Help your loved one make their apartment feel like home. Bring photos, familiar decorations, or their favorite books to personalize their living space. This not only makes them feel more comfortable but also shows that you care about their well-being in their new environment.

Respect Their Privacy and Independence

While it’s important to visit regularly, it’s equally crucial to respect your loved one’s privacy and independence. Allow them to maintain a sense of autonomy in their daily life and decisions. Offer assistance when needed but let them take the lead in how they want to spend their time.

Communicate Openly

Use your visits as an opportunity to have meaningful conversations. Discuss their experiences in assisted living, any concerns they may have, and how they are adjusting to their new surroundings. Open communication can strengthen your relationship and provide emotional support.


Building Relationships with the Assisted Living Team

Share Your Experiences.

Share insights into what has worked well in the past and any specific preferences or routines that are important to your loved one. This collaboration ensures that the team can provide personalized and effective care.

Share Details About Your Loved One's Life with the Team.

The assisted living team plays a vital role in helping your loved one adjust to their new home and community. You can assist them by sharing information about your parent’s interests, special preferences, or daily habits. Does your dad start his day with a cup of coffee? Does your mom unwind with classical music after lunch? While these details may seem small, sharing them with the team helps create a more personalized and comfortable environment for your loved one, strengthening their bond with their caregivers.

Assisted living team members are a valuable resource. By actively engaging with them, you can forge a partnership that supports your aging loved one's successful transition.


Maximizing Quality Time with Your Loved One in Assisted Living

Creating meaningful visits with your loved one in assisted living involves thoughtful planning and engagement. Here are practical tips to ensure your visits are enriching and supportive:

Frequent and Varied Visits

During the initial weeks, call and visit often to help them settle in. Establish a flexible schedule that suits both of you, aiming for quieter times when activities are minimal. Vary your visit times to observe how they fare throughout the day, including meal times.

Engage in Activities Together

Play games like cards or Scrabble, watch favorite shows or old movies, or listen to music they enjoy. Discuss topics such as sports or share stories about family activities. Bringing old photo albums or exploring their favorite online platforms can spark nostalgic conversations.

Give Them Room to Acclimate on Their Own.

While frequent visits are beneficial, give them space to adjust independently. Encourage them to socialize with neighbors and caregivers, fostering a sense of community within their new home.

Consider Their Needs

If your loved one has dementia, follow recommendations from the memory care community. Delay visits initially to help them acclimate without overwhelming reminders of home.

Focus on Quality Time

Whether you stay for twenty minutes or two hours, prioritize quality interactions over the duration of your visit. Your presence and engagement matter more than the length of your stay.

By actively participating in their daily life, respecting their adjustment process, and focusing on meaningful interactions, you contribute to a positive transition and ensure your loved one feels supported and connected in their new environment.


Embrace Life Beyond Caregiving

It's important to cultivate a life outside of caregiving. Finding renewed energy will make visits easier and enrich your interactions. Embrace the transition from full-time caregiver to simply being a son or daughter again. 

Discover how one daughter navigated her father’s move to senior living in our eBook, "Moving Dad," featuring real stories from Highgate residents and their families.

Moving Dad