Managing the Move to Senior Living: The Important Role of Family

“Most of us don’t like change in our lives and the older we become the more we tend to cling to things that are familiar and comfortable. Not the least of which are our home and the prized possessions we’ve accumulated over a lifetime,” says Sue Sunderland, Executive Director at soon-to-open supportive senior living community, The Bridges at Warwick in Jamison, PA.

“Making the move from a home of many years can be emotionally challenging. This applies not only to the person making the move, but to other members of the family as well. Some might not even agree that moving from the home is the right thing to do.

“However, if a parent, spouse or other loved one is in need of assistance with the basic activities of daily living and their health and safety are at risk, supportive senior living communities offer an ideal solution. Leading providers like The Bridges at Warwickoffer the perfect blend of assistance to support your loved one’s independence along with life-enriching activities, services and amenities.

“Once the decision has been made to move to senior living, there are helpful steps that you and other family members can take to help your loved one make a successful move and a comfortable transition to their new home.”

Making a Successful Move

The American Healthcare Association’s National Center for Assisted Living offers useful advice to families to help their loved one make a successful move. They suggest that family members be involved before, during and after the move and assist with the process both physically and emotionally. They recommend that family members:

  • Be empathetic, supportive and recognize that moving to a new home represents a major change for the loved one who may experience anxiety.
  • Help out with the sorting, discarding, packing and moving of furnishings and other possessions, but leave the important decisions, like what to keep, to the person who is moving.
  • Call and visit your loved one often, especially during the first few weeks in their new home.
  • Be positive. A smile, patience and understanding can help to make their move easier.

Everyone copes differently with change based on his or her own personality, life experiences and circumstances. The help and support of family members is a key ingredient for a successful move and a smooth transition into supportive senior living.

Tips for Managing the Transition

Secrets to Easing the Transition to Assisted Living,” and other similar articles offer helpful advice on how to help your parent or loved one adjust to their new surroundings. For example:

  • Take your loved one to visit their chosen community as often as possible before the move – After your family has selected a senior living community, take your loved one to visit frequently before the move. This will make the community and everyone who lives and works there seem less foreign when the move-in occurs.
  • Bring personal items and duplicate aspects of their old home in their new living space – To the extent possible, try to replicate their home environment within their new apartment. Make sure your loved one helps to decide which keepsakes to bring to their new home.
  • Have a new home-warming party – Take the opportunity to celebrate! Bring cherished items or new items to decorate as well as their favorite treats or dessert. Invite their friends as well.
  • Encourage your loved one to participate in activities – Your loved one is likely to adjust well if they get involved with activities and begin to make some friends at the community. The better senior living communities such as The Bridges at Warwickhave a wide variety of activities and events to enjoy.
  • Eat together – Dining together a few times a week can be a great way to keep in touch and maintain that family bond. In addition, residents may socialize more when there is someone new to introduce.
  • Encourage them to help out at the community – Many supportive living communities have resident volunteers that take on roles at the community such as answering phones, running an on-site store, managing the library or sponsoring a club. When senior adults feel they still have a purpose in life, it can improve their outlook and help with the transition.
  • Enable your loved one to be independent – Don’t be overly protective or feel as though you need to be with them all the time during the transition as this can actually be counterproductive. Visiting often during the first days after the move helps ensure that your loved one doesn’t feel abandoned, but refrain from taking this too far. Excessive “handholding” could prevent your loved one from successfully adapting to their new home.

Above all, be compassionate and understanding of this significant change in their life. Be sure to provide whatever assurances and information your loved one may need to feel comfortable and secure.

Personalized Care Tailored to Your Loved One’s Special Needs

Sue Sunderland adds, “We also seek to smooth each new resident’s move by creating a highly personalized service plan based on their unique care needs and preferences. Prior to moving in, a licensed nurse meets with each resident and his or her family to complete a comprehensive assessment to determine the most appropriate level of care. Our team also conducts ongoing care plan meetings to identify any changes in care, support or medication needs.

“Most importantly, we combine the comforts of home with health care tailored to individual needs and engaging activities that embrace a wide variety of interests and abilities. Here, we celebrate life and living with our residents every day.”

Your Family Resource for Senior Living Information and Support

In addition to providing exceptional senior living services and memory care, The Bridges at Warwick is a wonderful resource for families. We invite you to view our weekly articles and tips on important subjects pertaining to caregivers and welcome you to join us for our free public education seminars and events found on our monthly calendar.

Activity. Friendship. Support. Convenience. Value.

Opening in early 2016, you’ll find it all at The Bridges at Warwick, located in beautiful Bucks County, where every day is a celebration of seniors’ lives. Our philosophy of “Celebrating Life” means that our residents enjoy a sense of purpose and contentment along with fun, personalized care and a focus on total well-being.

Our Personalized Supportive Care provides just the right amount of assistance to help you remain independent along with life-enriching programs, services and amenities. Our exclusive Vista Transitional Living Program is for our Supportive Care residents who have memory challenges but do not yet require a secure residence. For those whose memory loss is more advanced, we offer The Vista, our specialized, comprehensive Memory Care residence.

In keeping with our founder Robert Basile’s personal philosophy, developed during his efforts to find quality senior living for his beloved father, senior adults remain our passion. We fill our residents’ lives with countless opportunities to engage with both new and treasured friends; events and programs to enjoy with family members and loved ones; as well as innovative and creative activities that foster engagement. Our dedication to total wellness – for mind, body and spirit – is woven into our culture every day.

Contact us today or call 215.269.7745 for more information or to arrange a personal tour. Be sure to ask about our JUBILEE CLUB – The Rewards Are Many. The Savings Are Big.

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