Moving a parent or aging loved one into a senior living community can be difficult and emotional for anyone. On top of the emotions, it can be extremely stressful to go through the logistical process of moving– from choosing a senior living community, moving out and in, to living in a new home. It can be overwhelming just to think about! Fortunately, we’re here to help you navigate the entire process to feel comfortable (and less stressed!) as you go through this significant life change. 

There are three main parts of moving into a senior community: finding the right senior living community, the moving process, and the moving and living itself! Take a look at some of our top tips to help you and your loved one move into a senior living community for the first time: 

Choosing a Senior Living Community

Before you start the move, you’ll need to find the right senior living community. Because this may take a significant amount of time, it’s important to consider everything that best fits your loved one’s needs. Some of these things include: 

  • Level of Care. How much care does your loved one need? Are they still pretty independent, or do they need more constant care? This will help you determine if they need an independent living, an assisted living, or a memory care living community. 
  • Amenities. Amenities can be essential depending on what your loved one wants and needs. Popular amenities may include an in-house beauty shop, linen services, laundry services, game rooms, libraries, and communal gardens and courtyards. Ask your loved one what’s important to them, so they feel the happiest with the decision!
  • Social Events. One of the hardest things to do as a senior is staying social. Find a senior living community with an active social calendar for entertainment and events to keep your loved one socially engaged and happy. 
  • Cost. What is the price of the community per month? Is it within your budget? How are you paying for it? Does your insurance cover the cost of any of it? These are all critical questions to ask while taking your initial tour of each community. 
  • Location. Even if the community itself is perfect, where is it located? Is it close or far from where you live? Could you get there quickly in case of an emergency, and can you easily visit frequently? This could be a dealbreaker for anyone who wants to live close to their aging relative. 

The Moving Process 

Once you’ve chosen a community and signed the contract, it’s time to start the actual moving process. Senior or not, moving can be stressful for anyone! Consider these helpful tips for moving: 

  • Start Small. Packing up an entire house into boxes can be overwhelming, so start small and slowly. Even just 20 minutes a day is helpful, and you may find that you won’t be able to stop once you get started! Set realistic deadlines for yourself. 
  • Prioritize. Prioritize packing the essential items, like toiletries, medications, clothing, and bedding. You should also prioritize items that will make the new community feel like home to help your loved one easily transition into the new space. Ask the senior living community for a list of dimensions and items the apartment comes with so you know what you can and can’t bring. For example, you may not want to bring a couch that doesn’t fit in the room or pots and pans if the community provides them or makes your meals daily. Store valuable items or family heirlooms with other loved ones or in a safety deposit so you don’t risk losing them. 
  • Logistics. Take care of the little details now that your home address is changing, such as mail forwarding with USPS, canceling utility services, medication billing, etc. 
  • Collection. Once everything necessary is taken care of, schedule a day where children of the loved one or other friends and family can come to the house and collect their belongings. This will shorten your packing time, but it will allow other loved ones to say goodbye to the home in a fun and nostalgic way! 

Living in a Senior Living Community

Your senior has just moved into their new living community, now what do you do? Keep these tips in mind: 

  • Be Patient. It takes time to be comfortable in a new home, so if your loved one is resistant to the change, remember to be patient as they adjust and settle in. Only time will tell how they really feel, and slowly they will begin to feel more at home. But don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from the staff if you think they can help your loved one feel more at home!
  • Set Boundaries. As a son, daughter, or caregiver, you may feel obligated to spend more of your time easing your loved one through this transition. But remember to take care of yourself, too! Take time to help your senior move in and schedule regular visits, but leave time for yourself. Set healthy boundaries for yourself by determining what you and the other people in your life may need, then go from there. 
  • Be an Advocate. Don’t be afraid to speak up for your loved one if you see things that could be improved. Be an advocate for them so they get the care they deserve, and communicate with the staff about your loved one’s unique needs so they can be attentive and caring. 

Addington Place at East Lake is a vibrant senior living community. With chef-inspired meals, compassionate staff available to serve you 24-hours a day, and engaging social activities, our residents live fulfilling lives with the comforts of assisted living. Visit our website to learn more or call us at (727) 491-5256 for more information!