“How will my loved one adjust to moving into an Assisted Living?” Anyone who works with families considering moving their loved one into a community hears this question. We always want to reassure the family that they will of course adjust and most of the time they do. However, finding ways to help this adjustment along can help everyone during this process. I have not only had the experience of helping other families in this situation, but also as the adult daughter of a parent who lived in an assisted living as well, I want to share some ideas on how to assist new residents to adjust, make new friends and adapt to their new life in a community.
In my experience, the personal touch makes the difference. Working to learn the likes/dislikes of a resident as well as their care needs, you have a better chance of understanding how you can help bring them joy and contentment. Spend time asking questions of the resident and family such as their career history, hobbies, what their interests they have. Family members are a great resource and most residents love to reminisce. Using a technique called “active listening” where you just listen without interrupting or sharing your own views is very therapeutic and I have found it a valuable way to connect. Most people when they move into an assisted living want to feel cared for and valued. These two things more than anything else have the greatest impact on adjusting. Here are a few ways Wildomar Senior Assisted Living helps new residents make friends and fit in:
- Using a team approach:
-Sharing information with the whole team, not just the activity staff but the front desk, the chef, and of course the caregiving team.
-Putting new residents as “priority” just as if they have a high care need. Giving them TLC and helping them feel valued.
-Share updates on the residents progress in daily team meetings.
- Making a plan:
-A care plan meeting is scheduled with the resident and family within 2 weeks of moving in. We come up with a team approach to involve the resident in activities and make sure their needs are identified and addressed.
- Connecting those with similar backgrounds:
-Bring residents with similar backgrounds together for coffee, or in the dining room. Help them get the conversation started.
-Some types of commonalities are: veterans, residents who grew up on the east coast, animal lovers and people who enjoy similar activities.
- Involve Family:
-Encouraging family to talk with their loved one about how they are doing and share the feedback with us.
-Ask family to bring in photos of the resident from their younger days. It’s fun to look at their old photos and a great way to start conversation.
- Maintaining social connection:
-We welcome groups from the outside with whom a new resident has a connection such as the “Red Hat Society”, “Garden Clubs”. Many outside clubs are happy to have an opportunity to make sure the stay in touch with their members. When residents are connected and engaged in our community, it makes life more enjoyable for them, and adds value to their lives.