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Helping an Elderly Parent Move to Assisted Living

We work with clients in the Tampa Bay area every day in various transitions. Many times we are involved in the process of helping families and clients who are moving to an Assisted Living Facility or Retirement Community. Often, families contact us to help with the research and decision-making process regarding the best Florida Assisted Living Facility for the individual (read “One Daughter’s Contrasting Eldercare Experiences” for examples of how we assist families in choosing Assisted Living Facilities and arranging eldercare).

Once the decision has been made, making a smooth transition is vital.

What are some tips we can offer to families to have a positive move to a new home in Assisted Living?

1. Plan the move-in day carefully around the individual. This may mean planning a special outing when the physical move is taking place to make it a special day and reduce the stress. Think about timing and little things like when it is best for the person to arrive and details such as meal times.

2. Orient the person to the new home and introduce them to their new neighbors and staff. Make sure they know things like meal times and the layout of the building (make sure they have written information in the apartment). Keep in mind that the move day can be tiring, so it may help to do a basic orientation but repeat this again and spread out some of the introductions and activities.

3. Consider hiring a home health caregiver/companion to help with little tasks as well as to encourage getting out to some of the activities. That person can help with a continued orientation tour as well as remind your loved one about activities and encourage “let’s check it out”. If your loved one had caregivers in the home prior to moving, make a transition plan. He or she may have become pretty attached to regular caregivers and to end this relationship suddenly only exacerbates the changes taking place.

4. Depending on the person/circumstances, help complete change of address cards to friends and family and think about holding an “open house” or small lunch or dinner party for family members and friends. This puts the move in a more positive light and can help those friends and family members gain comfort with visiting.

5. Do your best to ensure the staff know your loved one…their past, their personality, routine, and preferences. We all relate better when we know more about someone and you can help staff connect better with your loved one, as well as perhaps identify other residents who may share commonalities. Some questions you may want to ask when exploring facilities: “How do you handle the move-in day? How do you help staff and other residents get to know my loved one and vice versa? What do you find helps with the transition?” You’ll get a gut feeling about the facility when you hear the answers to these questions.

6. Figure out ways to maintain familiar habits, preferences, surroundings. Personal items and the physical environment provide comfort, but a person’s routine and habits provide comfort too. There may even be an outside community activity that you can plan to help your loved one continue, such as arranging transportation to a bridge group in the old neighborhood. Not everyone functions on the same schedule. If your loved one sleeps in or maintains an unusual meal schedule, talk to staff about how a different schedule can be accommodated.

What are some of the ways an Aging Wisely Florida geriatric care manager can help with the move to Assisted Living?

• Most importantly, we provide expertise and guidance to help you and your family make the best decision on the most appropriate Florida Assisted Living Facility. We know the facilities, we don’t accept referral fees, we see the care provided as patient advocates, and we can help you navigate the many options.

• We also help with things like understanding fees and the admissions process, negotiating fees and financial assistance programs such as Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits such as VA Aid and Attendance.

• Our care managers’ social work and gerontology backgrounds can be put to use as you approach the conversation and transition with your elderly loved one. Read Mark’s story on our client testimonials page for an example of an Aging Wisely care manager’s assistance with a “loving intervention” to get Mom help.

• We can help you with the preliminary planning, including making referrals/setting up movers and all of the different assistance you might need (i.e. estate sales help, realtors, senior move managers).

• We help plan the move day and anticipate ways to make the smoothest transition. Our care managers often assist families throughout the day and help orient clients to the new environment.

• We provide advocacy and oversight services, especially for families at a distance. We can check in on a regular basis with your loved one, review care charts, update medical records and attend doctor’s appointments and troubleshoot any issues that arise, as well as keep you fully informed. For our clients, we are on-call 24/7 for emergencies also.

CONTACT US today for help choosing the best Assisted Living Facilities in the Tampa Bay, Florida area for your loved one or for your questions about eldercare, Medicare/Medicaid and resources for senior care.

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Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.