The transition of helping an elderly parent move into a retirement community can take a period of adjustment. But, as an adult child facilitating this move, it's important that you ease the transition as best as you can. Although retirement communities have friendly staff members who work hard to get new residents settled and help them feel welcome, you can lend a hand to ensure the process doesn't experience any hiccups. Here are three simple ways you can help your elderly parent quickly feel at home upon moving into a retirement community.
Make The Room Feel Like Home
Many retirement communities have fully furnished rooms, but a new resident who's surrounded by his or her own furniture, decorations and overall possessions will feel at home more quickly. Arrange to fill the room with your parent's items a day or two before the move-in date -- perhaps your parent can stay with you during this transitional time -- so that when you arrive together, the room already feels homey. In addition to placing your parent's favorite pieces of furniture around the room, hang pictures, decorate end tables and place some of his or her favorite treats, such as tea or cookies, on a shelf.
Getting your parent involved in the retirement community's ongoing programming is one of the best ways to make the transition to the new living situation easier. Meet with an activity coordinator and get a rundown of all the ways your parent can get involved. Common activities include card and board game clubs, art clubs, music nights, day trips and volunteering opportunities. By joining even a couple clubs or groups early on, your parent will have the opportunity to meet other like-minded people with whom he or she can start a friendship. Affirm the message that other residents are in a similar situation to your parent and that getting involved is an ideal way to smooth the transition to the new living arrangements.
One of your chief priorities upon helping relocate a parent into a retirement community is to ensure that he or she doesn't feel isolated. Although your parent should be able to make friends in time, make the early days and weeks easier by calling daily and making frequent in-person visits with your family. No one wants to feel that he or she is forgotten, and dropping by for an afternoon of conversation, board games or updates from the grandchildren can affirm the message that your parent is still close to you and plays a valuable role in your family's life.