Although the new year begins in January, it doesn’t really feel like a “new year” until the arrival of spring. That’s when we stretch our limbs, get out, start making plans and do some much-needed spring cleaning. It can be a great time to go through your old things, get rid of your junk and dream big about how you’re going to transform your space (A new deck? More storage?). It’s also a great time of year for seniors to consider making the move to assisted living.
“Springtime feels like a fresh start, and psychologically it’s an exciting time to make a move because the weather is nicer, the days are longer and more events are taking place in the community,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. However, she notes, if your aging parent needs to move to assisted living but is less than enthusiastic about the process, this can be a difficult conversation. “Getting older and needing help is hard, and the thought of moving from their home to a different place is overwhelming and complicated,” she says. “It’s important to start the conversation as early as possible to get everyone on the same page and make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Before & During the Move.
1. Don’t do it alone.
They say, “it takes a village,” so get yours assembled around you and your aging parent before starting the process. Depending on your parent’s abilities, you may end up shouldering a lot of the burdens that arrive with the move – even the decision on where to go. Be sure to ask valued family members and friends for help when you need it (and you’ll need it).
2. Research, research, research.
Finding “just the right place” for Mom or Dad may feel like an impossible task. Start out the same way you would if you were buying a new home. What is needed in the new community? How many bedrooms? What assistance does the senior need? Be sure to include your parent in every decision and have them help you research as much as possible. Remember, this is their life, and they deserve to guide the conversation.
3. Visit, visit, visit.
Once you’ve researched and narrowed down your options, it’s time to take a personal tour. Be sure to have a manageable number of places to visit – one may be not enough while four could be too many. Look at online reviews, bring a list of questions and be sure to chat with current residents and staff while you’re on a tour. Remember that there’s more to the community than just a building – be sure to look at what’s around the location, what amenities are nearby, visitation schedules and the like.
You’ve done it! Your senior parent has decided on a community and living space. Now it’s time to downsize (or rightsize, to put a positive spin on it) their belongings in order to gracefully make the move to their new space. Put items in one of three categories: keep, give away or trash. This is an excellent time for Mom or Dad to hand out family heirlooms to appropriate family members so they can be enjoyed.
5. Plan the new space.
Now comes the fun part – decorating the new space. Make sure the items you wish to bring over from your parents’ old home will fit in the new square footage, and figure out where those will go before you start buying new furniture. There are plenty of free programs online that can help you map out a room in 3D without having to physically move anything except a mouse. Once you’ve arranged everything and figured out what’s needed, go shopping for any new items.
6. Visit before the move.
Before moving day, visit the facility with your parent several times. This allows you to learn the layout of the community, meet and make some new friends, introduce yourself to the staff and get a feel for the rhythm of life there. Join in for a fun event or eat lunch with some new acquaintances. Once your Mom or Dad are actually moved in, they will appreciate having a sense of familiarity.
While the new space won’t be “just like home,” do what you can to make it as homelike as possible. Put familiar photos and pictures, lamps and other furniture around to make it feel more familiar. Make sure the bedroom in particular is set up as close as possible to your parent’s old home, because few things are more disorienting than getting up in the middle of the night and bumping into a table or not being able to get out of your usual side of the bed.
After the Move.
8. Give it time.
It can take several months for a senior to adjust to assisted living – after all, it’s a big change. If your loved one is struggling or dealing with difficult emotions, be patient with them. They may just need to talk it out or see a familiar face. Encourage friends and family members to visit during those first few months so your parents don’t feel all alone.
9. Get involved.
Assisted living communities have all sorts of events and activities going on throughout the day, so find some that you and your parent can do together. Or, you can simply visit them in their new space and play a game, do a puzzle or even start a workout routine together. Having a routine and something to look forward to – and see you, of course! – will definitely be a bright spot for them. At the same time, get involved with your aging parent’s care. You will want to be informed of what’s going on in order for you to be their advocate and active participant in their treatment.
“At Waterstone at Wellesley, we understand that moving to an assisted living community is a big transition, and we strive to make sure every new resident understands we are here to help them maintain and in some cases, regain, their independence with caring assistance,” says Kristine. “We are here to help families and their loved ones before, during and after this transition and are focused on providing an optimal lifestyle for you or an aging parent.”
For more information about when it might be time to move yourself or a loved one into assisted living, or to learn more about how we provide distinctive and luxurious independent and assisted living options for seniors in Wellesley, MA, please contact us at 781.235.1614.
Beautiful Riverfront Community
Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.
Celebrating Dynamic Living
Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.
Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors.
Confidence of Care
The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone.
For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.