While moving a loved one to senior living is always hard for families, doing so during the holidays may feel downright heart-wrenching. Not only is it one of the busiest times of the year, but it’s also a particularly emotional time even before you add in this type of transition. But there are ways to make the move to senior living during the holidays easier for all of you. Here’s how.
- Ensure they’re part of the process – Involving your loved one as much as possible (comparing communities, choosing the floor plan and services they’d like and/or helping to plan the move itself) is beneficial in a couple of ways. One- it gives them a sense of ownership in the process which can help alleviate fears over the move such as losing independence. Two, learning more about all the senior living community can offer will help them to feel more confident in the decision.
- Start planning the space – Fear of the unknown can create a lot of unnecessary tension and stress. That’s why we recommend you and your loved one get started planning their new space right away. It can not only alleviate those worries by giving them a sense of what to expect, but it’s also a way to connect with your loved one while having a little fun deciding how you’ll personalize the space. Often, senior living communities have interactive floor plans on their website or you can just ask for a copy. Also, confirm what you can or can’t bring with you. Common items to pack include linens, personal care supplies, comfortable clothing, and favorites such as photos and keepsakes.
- Keep spirits up – Both yours and your loved one’s spirits! Of course, the whole family is likely to be nervous and emotional about this move, but don’t let it get the best of you. Especially around your loved one because seeing you staying positive is more likely to help them feel reassured. One way to do so is to focus on what they have to look forward to in senior living like maintenance-free living, resort-like amenities, services that make life more convenient, a lifestyle that helps residents make the most of life, and peace of mind that support is always at hand.
- Get them involved – One benefit of a move to senior living during the holidays is that there’s even more to do. And the environment is especially festive with communities in their holiday best! So, it won’t take long for your loved one to feel at home with new friends and fun things to do. Start by grabbing a copy of the activity calendar so they can check out all available options. Many communities also have new resident ambassadors or something similar to make your loved one feel welcome.
- Be there for them – Visiting your loved one at the senior living community is often one of the best ways to do that. Again, this time of year there are even more opportunities than usual to do just that as families are invited to many holiday events. It’s also important to be there for them emotionally as it takes time to adjust to this big of a transition so there will be both highs and lows. Make sure they know you’re there to listen and reassure them that you’re still an active part of each other’s lives. Encourage other family members and friends to do the same!
- Be flexible with the festivities – A move to senior living during the holidays may seem like a surefire way to ruin them. But that’s only if you let it! It’s all about mindset. Sure, your loved one may have their usual tree and decorations still packed away, but remember the community will be all decked out, so it will still feel festive. And while yes, it’s ideal to celebrate Christmas on the 25th, if you can’t make that happen due to the move, it can still be just as special a little early or a little late this year. What matters is that you’re together!