3 Tips For Helping Your Parent Adjust To Their New Home In Independent Living

Posted on: 30 November 2015

Do you have a parent who is moving out of their home and into an independent living facility? Is your parent upset about the move and perhaps even a bit depressed? It's normal for elderly people to grieve the transition from living at home to living in a group facility, even if they know the move is in their best interests. Your parent is leaving a place they may have called home for years or even decades. It could be the place where they built a home with their spouse and raised their children. With a little bit of support and planning on your end, you can help your parent overcome their resistance and make a successful transition. Here are three tips to help you do so:

Acknowledge their loss. If your parent is grieving the loss of their home, it's important that you recognize their loss and help them mourn it. You may be tempted to encourage them to get over it and look forward to their new home. However, by respecting their sadness, you may help them get closure and transition to their new home.

For example, you may want to plan a special dinner for the last night in the old home. Invite old friends and family over so your parent can share old memories in stories. That will help your parent get closure and also let them know that they have a wide network of support.

Let them pack a few extra items. Many children who are moving their parents into independent living focus on downsizing as much as possible during the moving process. They look for items to donate, sell, or even gift to family in an effort to cull the number of belongings that make the trip. It makes sense to do so, as the amount of available space in an independent living home is usually less than you'd find in a traditional house.

However, you may want to err on the side of letting your parent bring a few extra items, especially those that hold sentimental value. If you force your parent to get rid of important items, he or she may develop resentment towards you. Instead, let them bring what they want. In time, they'll notice the clutter on their own and decide to pare down on belongings. But that will be their choice and not yours, which will make the process easier.

Give them their space. You may be tempted to visit as much as possible after your parent moves in. Some children will visit their parent every day for lunch or every evening for dinner in the weeks after move-in. While that's an admirable sentiment, visiting too much may not be the best thing for your parent. He or she needs to make new friends and they may have little incentive to do so if they know you'll visit on a daily basis. Give them space so they're motivated to meet new people.

For more information, talk to the director at some independent living facilities (such as Brooke View) in your area. They can help you decide if their facility is right for you and assist you with the transition process.