Address the topic of assisted living before it becomes necessary.

The assisted living care model is between your home and the nursing homes and has come into prominence in the past 20 years, and will continue to grow as the Baby Boomers head into the retirement years. However, even for families who have had those conversations, making the transition from home to an assisted living can be challenging.

Assisted living provides an opportunity for older Americans to enjoy the comforts of a home-like setting, plenty of activities and socialization, along with the help they might need — from bathing and dressing to housecleaning and medication reminders. Yet, many are so attached to their home that leaving it is terrifying, even when diminished faculties, and perhaps the loss of the ability to drive, have left them isolated.

Therefore, educate your loved one about what assisted living is — and isn’t —  it helps ease anxieties simply by painting an accurate picture of what to expect. And it’s an important part of the process, since the term ‘assisted living’ has been used in the elder-care community to describe a wide range of models, from home care to skilled nursing care. Assisted living is residential care; it’s a residential environment, not a health care facility.

Even for someone who recognizes the need for assisted living, the move itself can be traumatic, especially if leaving behind a house to the assisted living apartment. A major barrier can be how they’re going to downsize. However professional organizers can help through the downsizing process, which can be daunting, especially for someone who has lived in the same house for many years.
Even after the move, many seniors initially struggle with anxiety over this new life, but most adjust well, as the existing residents tend to support newcomers with a welcoming committee or buddy system to get them active in their new community.

Assisted living is “about safety and care, but also about that social element. Aging is not kind, but we want to make it the best, most joy-ridden experience we can. We have to learn how to play again and take pleasure, and not just endure.

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