Guest Article by Sharon Wagner at seniorfriendly.info
Adjusting to life in an assisted living facility isn’t easy. Leaving behind the comforts of home can spark feelings of sadness and anxiety, so it’s natural to face a period of adjustment. Once you get through this transition, however, it’s very possible to thrive in an assisted living environment. If you’re about to make the move to an assisted living facility, keep some of these tips in mind to ensure your transition is gentle and enjoyable.
Decorate with Personal Items
Bring your décor, furniture, and other personal items along to the assisted living facility to help you feel at home much more quickly. Personalize your space as much as possible, and set it up exactly how you want. Family photos, art created by your grandchildren, paintings that speak to you, or a few plants can really bring joy to your space. Remember to also bring entertainment devices such as a TV, tablet, or computer.
Participate in Community Programs
According to A Place for Mom, many assisted living facilities throughout Jacksonville offer all kinds of different services, from compassionate care to help with daily living tasks like cooking, bathing, and laundry. These communities also provide many opportunities for social engagement through daily scheduled activities and common areas.
One of the best ways to feel at home in an assisted living facility is to get involved in the community. Find out what kinds of recreational activities are available and participate in those that interest you. Game nights and fitness programs are a great way to meet people, forge strong connections, and support your mental health. Many communities also offer volunteer opportunities to residents, so you can find ways to occupy your time doing something meaningful like gardening, answering phones, leading a club, or managing the library. According to HomeTouch Care, meaningful activities are especially important for people with dementia.
Nourish Your Existing Social Connections
While it’s important to meet new people in your community, don’t neglect your existing friends. Walden University stresses that a strong social network is vital to a high quality of life in your golden years. Call your friends, ask them to visit, and initiate regular outings so you can get a break from your usual environment. While routines are helpful, keeping your mind active by exploring new environments is also important. Many assisted living communities offer convenient access to public transportation so you can get around town on your own.
Maintain Your Routine
Facing a massive change in your life is much more manageable when you can maintain some sense of predictability. Many people find that sticking to a daily routine helps them avoid stress and remember important things that need to be done. Make sure you have everything you need to keep up with your routine in your new living arrangement. For example, if you’re used to waking up with a coffee and a newspaper, talk to the staff about having this arranged.
Your daily routine may change slightly with the additional assistance from care staff, so you may have to find new activities to fill the time that you normally spent cooking or cleaning. Consider starting a daily exercise routine or pick up a hobby you’d like to practice daily.
Keep Up with Favorite Hobbies
Hobbies are fantastic for stress relief and mental health. Make sure you can maintain your favorite hobbies in your assisted living community. Certain hobbies like fishing, gardening, or golfing can be a bit more challenging in this environment, but you’re bound to find ways to keep them up. For example, you could talk to the staff about helping out with the gardening.
Living in a community will also give you the chance to participate in new hobbies that you can do as a group, like playing games, practicing music, or doing yoga. This is great because learning a new skill is an excellent way to strengthen your cognitive abilities.
Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to this change. It can take a while to accept your new lifestyle, so don’t feel pressured to settle in immediately. Sometimes, we just need some space to process what’s going on in our lives. By giving yourself some time to adapt, you’ll be better prepared to thrive in your new living environment.