It’s tough any time you face a significant lifestyle change. Going into an assisted living community can be especially difficult, particularly if you’re experiencing other changes in life at the same time. As you leave one phase of your life behind to begin another, here’s how to ensure this is an opportunity to thrive.
If you recently moved to an assisted living facility or are considering the transition, chances are something is pushing you in that direction. Perhaps you recently developed a health or mobility concern or a loved one who helped you is no longer able to do so. As Psychology Today explains, change is never easy, especially if it comes on the heels of bad news.
However, there is good news. Assisted living is designed to help you live an independent, full life, yet support you in daily tasks that might be challenging to accomplish without help. This would be things like dressing, taking medications, and bathing.
You also have a built-in boost for your social life. While that might not sound important, many people over the age of 65 often feel lonely. Over time, that loneliness can take a toll, leading to physical and emotional health issues. Being in assisted living means you can participate in group activities, make new friends, and stay engaged. It’s a shot in the arm for your social connections, as well as your general wellness.
It may feel like you’re giving up things to move into assisted living. That’s understandable; since with going from one living arrangement to a new one, it’s normal to miss things you’re accustomed to. At the same time, most perceived gaps can usually be easily filled.
As an example, if you gave up driving, Neptune Society notes there are several other transportation options available to seniors. For instance, you can connect with a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, and if you need to get to a medical facility, check to see if they provide transportation to and from appointments. To learn about senior services in the area, you can check in with the Area Agency on Aging.
Being in a new place can make you feel like your whole life is inside out. One great way to ease the process of settling in is to surround yourself with familiar things. With that in mind, You Move Me suggests putting on your favorite music and displaying some favorite knick-knacks to help you feel more at home in your new space.
In addition to familiar sights and sounds, think about connecting with some familiar faces. Invite some family members or friends over to show them your new place, or ask someone you love and have known for a long time to help you do a little unpacking. You’ll be surprised how setting up belongings they recognize can trigger memories, conversation, and laughter
Take a Deep Breath
A healthy coping method can help you let go of any anxieties you’re carrying about your move. With that in mind, try adding some meditation to your days. Some research indicates meditation can help you navigate your change, and on top of that, many seniors appear to benefit in other ways as well. Meditation can be used to treat chronic illnesses and mood disorders and appears to help with health concerns like blood pressure and inflammation. If you’re new to meditation, there are podcasts you can try especially recommended for seniors.
Another option is practicing yoga. Not only does yoga reduce anxiety, but it can also improve joint health, balance, and stability. If you’re a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, yoga classes may be covered. Look into the Silversneakers Program, which includes fitness and yoga classes.
Transitioning into assisted living can be challenging, but it might just be the best thing you ever did for yourself. There is built-in support and socializing, and you have plenty of opportunities to get out and do things as you wish. Surround yourself with familiar faces and things, and take a deep breath. Soon enough, you’ll feel right at home.