Easing the Transition to an Assisted Living Space

By March 24, 2021 No Comments

Moving to an assisted living community can be a major transition involving lifestyle changes, including lots of new people and unfamiliar spaces. Many seniors greatly enjoy the sense of community that comes with assisted living, but find the path to this new future to be a bit daunting. Successfully navigating the transition to an assisted living community in Troy involves planning and preparation, but these steps can make the process easier and more straightforward.


Planning for a move


Moving to an assisted living space usually involves downsizing from a house, condo, or town home to a smaller apartment. Planning far in advance for this transition can increase the time available for thoughtful decision-making. But whether moving day is in weeks or months, an orderly process is key. Reaching out to family and friends for their help in decision-making, sorting, and packing is a great way to lighten a senior’s load and involve loved ones in the process. Setting aside set times to work on each stage of the process will ensure that progress toward the goal continues.


Downsizing by category


Downsizing can involve a number of difficult decisions, and for many, it’s tough to know where to start. The prospect of going through belongings can seem overwhelming, but thinking about the process becomes easier when items are sorted into categories such as furniture, clothing, kitchen items, books and papers, cleaning supplies, bathroom items, and games, to name a few.


One suggestion is to start by choosing a category and then gathering all the items in the category in one place. The next step is going through the items in the category one by one and keeping only those belongings that are used on a regular basis.


Sentimental keepsakes can be difficult to sort through, and it may make sense to leave these for last. Sorting through items in other categories first can be good practice for making decisions about what’s truly valued, so that by the time sentimental items are considered, these decisions may seem easier.


A few items that simply bring happiness or have sentimental value, such as beloved paintings, photos, books, or keepsakes, should make the journey to the new space. But to avoid clutter, it may be good to keep in mind that everything must fit into a smaller space. Consider gifting some items; friends and relatives may be more than happy to receive personal mementos or usable household items.  Donating items to charity are also a great option.


Making plans for furniture


Deciding what furniture to take when moving into an assisted living community in Troy can be a difficult decision. Mapping the floor plan of the new assisted living space may help determine the most useful furniture items to retain. Measuring all current furniture as well as the dimensions of the new space and then using these measurements to sketch various furniture arrangements will help determine which pieces will fit in the new space and which will not.


Furniture functionality is another consideration. Chairs or sofas with deep, sinking cushions may not be the best at supporting seniors who have trouble when standing up, while couches with firm cushions can provide more support for mobility. Smaller pieces, such as love seats, may work better in the new space than full-size couches, and a round table with a drop-leaf may be more appropriately sized than a large rectangular dining table. Any piece of furniture that provides extra storage can prove useful in a smaller space; an ottoman that doubles as a storage bench or coffee table provides multi-use functionality without a large footprint.


Furniture that will not be moving to the new space should be donated, sold, or gifted. Keep in mind that relatives may be grateful to receive a bedroom set or a dining table; gifting heirloom pieces to receptive relatives can be a great way to keep them in the family. Donating to charity or a church can ensure that favorite items find a new home with a family in need.


Decorating a new space


To help seniors feel at home in an assisted living community in Troy, decorating and choosing new items for the space will be key. When decorating, keep in mind a new resident’s physical limitations or conditions, as well as any safety guidelines.


Seniors that suffer from dementia, including those with the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, may experience visuoperceptual difficulties that make busy patterns frustrating. And for seniors with visual loss or retinal issues, dark spots in the visual field can make navigating an unfamiliar room challenging. For seniors living with these conditions, simple patterns or contrasting solid colors can make it easier to navigate the space.


Easing social interaction


As we age, one of the most important ways to ensure happiness and longevity is to engage in an active social life. To facilitate new friends and interests at an assisted living facility in Troy, a senior’s apartment should have space for guest seating, as well as interesting personal photos, art, or awards that will facilitate conversation with new acquaintances and friends. Many assisted living facilities have planned social activities such as card games, painting, crafting, or movie nights, to ensure that residents have a chance to interact, converse, and get to know one another.


Planning for continuity with transitional care


Choosing an assisted living facility takes careful research. One of the best ways to ensure that an assisted living facility will feel like home for a long time is to choose a facility that includes transitional care options in the event seniors require care beyond assisted living. For example, hospice care provided within an assisted living center in Troy is an ideal option for seniors who have already acclimated to the assisted living environment they have come to know well; hospice services provided in this environment will ensure a patient is surrounded by familiar faces and staff members whom they recognize. As a senior’s needs change over time, choosing an assisted living facility in Troy that includes both memory care and hospice services can provide stability, comfort, and optimal care at all life stages.