Although the move from one’s home to a new home at Highgate Senior Living is a life-changing one, it does not have to be fraught with stress and anxiety. Just ask Shelia Smart and Rick Pinnell, two adult children who helped their aging parent make the move to a Highgate community.
For Smart and Pinnell, staying focused on the reasons their families made the decision to move to assisted living — safety, health, security, sanity — and keeping the big picture in mind helped them through the rough patches.
Let the Community’s Team Members Help You
When the caregivers needed help, they relied on the Highgate Senior Living team members to help their parent feel more engaged, build social connections, and maintain a vital sense of self by participating in the community.
“Before my mom moved into Highgate, Mandy [Ketcham, Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Yakima] would go visit her at the nursing home,” says Pinnell, whose mom, Joan, is now a resident at Highgate at Yakima. “[Mandy] took other team members with her a couple times so my mom would start to feel comfortable around them. She worked with the transition of physical therapy. They made it very easy for us. Anything we needed, they helped us with.”
Highgate has helped many seniors make the transition into assisted living, and the team members are happy to give tours, answer questions, and reassure new residents that they are committed to providing a warm, engaging place to live.
3 Ways to Use the Highgate Team as a Resource
Once your family decides on the right assisted living community, the team members will work with you to complete the necessary assessments and paperwork before move-in day.
This paperwork can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks to complete. In the meantime, use the assisted living community’s team members as a resource throughout the move-in process and the transition weeks that follow.
Here are three ways you and your family can work with the Highgate team members to ease your loved one’s transition to assisted living.
Do Not Be a Stranger
Before the move takes place, go with your parent to the facility a few times so you both can get acquainted with the staff, meet other residents, and become familiar with the schedule. This not only helps new residents feel knowledgeable and prepared for their new home, but it also offers you the assurance that your loved one will be well taken care of.
“I encourage incoming residents to come for lunch so they can start to get to know some of the other residents,” Ketcham says. “I also recommend families come and visit for an activity so they can also start to see what their new routine might be like and so we can start to get to know the new resident.”
Offer Up Details
Assisted living staff play a critical role in your loved one’s adjustment to their new home and community. You can help them by offering information about any of your parent’s interests, special preferences, or habits.
Does your dad have a cup of coffee first thing every morning? Does your mom enjoy listening to classical music in the afternoon after lunch? Although these details might seem inconsequential to you, informing the team members about these details helps them create a more comfortable environment for your loved one while fostering a connection with care partners.
“We had one resident move from another assisted living facility to Highgate and her friend told us that because she was 95, all she wanted to do was sit there and people watch,” Ketcham recalls. “She said that she used to play the piano and dance, but because she is at the age she is, she was unable to. Well, we took this as a challenge. Turns out, she was still able to play the piano with the proper cues and still loved to dance! Because no one took the time to properly encourage either of those passions, she had not done either in a long time. Yet she truly enjoyed doing these two things.”
Designate a Primary Point Person
The type and number of team members in an assisted living community differ considerably. You will want to find out your main point person at the community once your loved one moves in. You will also want to designate the primary point person within your family, too. That way everyone is clear about who to contact whether there is a leaky faucet or an emergency.
Assisted living team members are a valuable resource. The more you communicate with them, the more they can partner with you to help your aging loved one transition with success.
For more tips on how to ease the transition to assisted living, download A Guide to Making the Move to Highgate Senior Living.