A Senior’s Guide to Thriving When Transitioning to Assisted Living
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Making the transition from your home to an assisted living facility can be difficult. However, this move can benefit you in many ways. Leisure Care explains that this shift can help seniors avoid a decline in health and combat feelings of loneliness, for instance. There are steps you can take to ensure you thrive in your new environment. It’s important to commit to your health and happiness to ensure you can enjoy your later years.
Read on to discover what steps you can take to ensure a seamless transition from your old home to your new assisted living community.
Prepare for the move well in advance
Don’t rush the move to assisted living. Research facilities thoroughly before choosing one. Consider practical elements like location, as well as extras that will help maintain your health. For example, some assisted living communities offer exercise courses. Before you move, you also need to decide what to do with your old home. Find out how much you can get for selling your house using an online calculator like this one from Redfin.
Decorate your new space to make it feel like home
You want to feel emotionally at ease in your new space. When you’re preparing for the move, pack a box of some essential comfort items like a favorite throw blanket and family photos. When you arrive in your new space, you can unpack this box immediately to settle in. Aging Care offers more tips for making an assisted living space feel like home, like decluttering beforehand to make for an easier move.
Enjoy healthy meals with other residents and caregivers
Many communities offer meals for residents, giving you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbors. Sticking to regular mealtimes is especially important for seniors, who tend to have slower metabolisms — meaning, they must get more nutrients while eating smaller portions. The National Council on Aging provides nutrition tips that can help guide your meal choices, emphasizing the need for lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Take advantage of exercise opportunities to maintain mobility and independence
In addition to meals, many assisted living communities also offer opportunities for exercise. Take advantage of these courses. According to BioMed Research International, regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging. If you have mobility issues, the NewGait can help you get back on your feet. This physical therapy device helps promote better walking, building strength, balance, and coordination.
Socialize with other residents to stay mentally sharp
When you go to meals or take part in exercise courses at your assisted living community, make a point to socialize with others. Actively engaging with people helps to maintain mental acuity with age. Further, feelings of isolation or loneliness can cause health issues like depression, anxiety, and hypertension. A lack of socialization is also linked to a greater risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Senior Lifestyle.
Invite visitors to help you mingle
If you’re shy, you may have trouble taking steps to integrate with your assisted living community. Even striking up a conversation in an exercise class or over a meal can be tough. Call on friends or family to help. A visitor can be a great way to spark up a conversation — all you have to do is introduce them to others. They can then help facilitate the discussion. Check your community’s guidelines in case there are visitation restrictions.
Take advantage of opportunities to try something new
In addition to regular exercise courses and meals, your assisted living community may host special events, holiday get-togethers, and educational courses. When you have an opportunity to try something new, take it! Harvard Health Publishing explains that novel experiences challenge your brain and maintain mental acuity. Plus, you never know if you’ll discover a new hobby that you can enjoy in the future.
Give yourself time to adjust emotionally
Even if you follow all of the above steps, you may find yourself experiencing emotional ups and downs as you settle into your new assisted living community. Don’t be afraid to reach out for emotional support. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a comprehensive guide to senior mental health, including how to recognize warning signs of issues like anxiety and depression. A mental health professional can provide guidance if needed.
Making the change and moving from your old home to a new assisted living community isn’t always easy. However, it will benefit your emotional and physical health in the long run. The above guide explains how to ensure a seamless transition.