Preparing a Senior Loved One for a Move to Assisted Living

Preparing a Senior Loved One for a Move to Assisted Living

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



If you are helping an older loved one find an assisted living community for their next chapter in life, it’s likely crossed your mind that moving might be a bit complicated for them. Many seniors who make this transition are leaving a home they’ve lived in for generations. Cutting the emotional ties to it can be tough. And the uncertainty of a whole new living environment often adds to the stress.

With thoughtful planning, though, it is possible for an older adult to make a smooth transition to assisted living. Here are a few suggestions to help you create a moving plan.

6 Tips for Helping a Senior Prepare to Move to Assisted Living

Tip #1: Keep the Senior Involved

One mistake we see is when families make all of the decisions about senior living without involving the older adult. In some instances, it might be necessary. For example, older adults with Alzheimer’s disease may not be able to participate.

Whenever possible, encourage your senior loved one to play an active role in this process. Even if you and your siblings tour multiple communities first and narrow down the list, take your loved one back to visit each one you think might be a good fit. Let them make the final decision.

Unless it creates too much anxiety, include your senior family member in the planning and details. It might be figuring out what furnishings to bring with them or what day they want to make the move. Helping seniors feel that they have a voice in the process usually results in a smoother, more satisfactory transition.

Tip #2: Get Involved in the Community Before Moving Day

Once your loved one has decided which assisted living community they will be moving to, encourage them to begin getting involved there before moving day. Talk with the staff to determine the best ways to do so. It might be by attending a wellness program like Chair Yoga once or twice a week. Or it could be by stopping in for lunch a few times.

This approach will help the senior start to learn their way around before moving day. Also ask if it is possible for them to meet the residents who will be their new neighbors.

Tip #3: Plan the New Space Together

While it might be tempting to buy all new furniture and accessories for this new chapter in life, it can keep the senior’s space from feeling like home.

Instead, ask the staff at the assisted living community for a copy of the apartment’s floor plan. Use it to determine which of their current belongings will fit and where. Also consider where to hang their favorite family photos and artwork.

If you need a little extra help figuring out how to downsize the senior’s current home, our Less Stuff for More Life tip sheet will be useful.

Tip #4: Have a Solid Plan for Moving Day

No matter how carefully you’ve planned, moving day might be emotional. Closing one door and opening another can be difficult at any age. For older adults, change may be especially tough.

Pack a suitcase filled with clothing, pajamas, personal care items, medication, and other supplies the senior will need immediately. It also helps to have a box with essentials: a coffee pot and supplies, paper towels, snacks, paper products, and toilet paper. If possible, load the suitcase and box in your car instead of on the moving truck so you have access to it right away.

Also give thought to how you and your senior will spend the day. Is it necessary to be at the home while the movers pack up? Or can another family member supervise? You and your loved one can enjoy lunch at their favorite restaurant and return later to say goodbye to the house.

Tip #5: Plan a Visitor’s Calendar

Set up a visitors’ calendar for the first few weeks after the move. This will give your senior loved one a friendly face or two each day. While you don’t necessarily want to have visitors there around the clock—which can prevent them from making new friends—you do want to keep them from feeling abandoned.

It might help to get a copy of the community’s activities calendar and invite family members and friends to attend different events. This will allow the senior to ease in to the community’s activities.

You can set up a calendar in Google Drive or use a helpful app like Lotsa Helping Hands to keep visitor times organized.

Tip #6: Be Kind to Yourself

When much of your time has been devoted to caring for and supporting a senior loved one, this transition might be emotional for you, too. Some liken it to empty nest syndrome. Be kind to yourself if you feel a little down. It is a normal part of this change.

Our final suggestion is that once you have your family member safely settled in to their new home, indulge in some “me” time. Whether it is an afternoon to read and relax on the couch or a movie night with friends, reward yourself for a job well done!

Choosing a Senior Living Community

If you are just beginning the search for a senior living solution, Vitality Senior Living has a few resources you might find helpful. One is the guide Everything You Need to Know About Moving into Senior Living. Here you will find advice on everything from evaluating costs to handling difficult emotions.

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