How can you make senior living feel like home?
Often, one of the biggest struggles for older adults transitioning to senior living results from leaving the home environment they’ve been accustomed to for years.
They’re expected to downsize their home for retirement, which may mean leaving behind furniture or other items that have made their house a home. They must settle in to a strange, new setting. They have to create new routines and adapt to their new lifestyle.
In many ways, it can be difficult to equate a senior living community with home. But there are a few tips and tricks you can employ to ease the transition and truly make senior living feel like home.
Grieve your loss. A move to senior living is undoubtedly a positive one, but it can also represent a significant loss for older adults. Leaving behind a home, whether it’s been yours for a year or 40 years, means leaving behind a great deal of your past and your memories. Lean into these feelings and accept them as a means of moving on. And don’t forget the relocation services available at The Clare, when you need support.
Keep your favorites and store the rest. Limited space in a senior living unit typically means having to leave some personal belongings behind. Yet it can be difficult to part with items that have sentimental value. Determine which pieces mean the most to you, and request to store others with children or loved ones at their homes. This way, you can keep things you may not use on a daily basis, but won’t have to part ways with family heirlooms. The rest – like your favorite chair for watching TV or a special family heirloom – be sure to bring along to ensure new space feels familiar.
Refer to your new unit as home. There’s no better way to make senior living feel like home than to call it home. Whether you’re moving to independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing, refer to your new space home as often as possible, especially at the beginning.
Most importantly, make sure to be patient with yourself. You can’t expect to make senior living feel like home immediately. A new environment obviously requires an adjustment period. But as time goes on and you become more settled, there’s no doubt you’ll slip into feeling like you’re at home once more.