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  • Writer's pictureBrad Gunning

The Best Advice for Seniors Moving into Assisted Living

Guest blog by Sharon Wagner from

A great deal of work goes into moving into an assisted living facility, and if you’re preparing for the transition or recently completed it, chances are you’re feeling pretty stressed.  On top of all the time and effort involved, you’re uprooting yourself from familiar surroundings and patterns to begin something new. All in all, it can be a daunting proposition, but in the long run, moving into assisted living might just be the best thing you ever did for yourself.

Accentuate the positive

If you are like some seniors, moving into assisted living is something you have mixed feelings about.  The change can be very difficult, and you might be sad about the life you’re leaving behind. However, you can ease the struggle associated with that change by shifting your focus.  Instead of dwelling on the circumstances of the change, focus on what you can do with your change, and how you can savor what it brings to your life.

With that in mind, think about some of the many perks associated with assisted living.  For example, many of the Los Angeles facilities offer access to beaches, proximity to numerous art galleries, and of course, the climate is lovely year-round.  You could have your meals prepared by a professional chef every day, enjoy group events, and even have access to sports, fitness programs, and other recreational activities that are good for your social and mental health.

If you’re still undecided about exactly where you want to be, do some research and explore your options.  There are assisted living communities of all shapes and sizes in the area. Some communities have apartment-style living arrangements, some offer roommates, some have wheelchair-accessibility, and all are designed with senior comfort and safety in mind.  By learning about what’s available, you’ll look forward to all you have to gain that much more. And if you have any trouble finding a facility that’s the right fit, consider working with a company like A Place for Mom, which works with 50 facilities in and around the Los Angeles area.

Decluttering and packing

For many seniors, one of the big hurdles of transitioning into assisted living is paring down on belongings and packing.  If you’re facing that process right now, Money Talks News suggests decluttering as early on as you can.  It seems like these things are always more time consuming than we think they will be.

It’s not unusual to hit a wall in the process, and if you do, you can get help.  Ask a family member or close friend to help you sort things - you might find it’s cathartic having someone to share in the process with you, revisiting memories and talking through the tough decisions.

Another idea is to hire a senior move manager.  These professionals are specially trained to facilitate exactly what you’re doing, and can tackle big jobs in an organized, efficient manner, yet understand your struggle and will compassionately guide you through the move.

Getting more settled

Any time you move into a new place, it can feel like foreign territory at first.  You might have unsettled feelings, waking up and not recognizing where you are for a moment, or getting disoriented when exploring the grounds.  It’s natural to feel a bit off-kilter while you find your bearings. One way to help you feel more comfortable is to do some unpacking.  Pull out some meaningful items you brought with you, and put them where you can see them.  A few familiar things can help you feel more at home.

Another idea to help you feel at home is to participate in an activity that is part of your old routine.  Do you normally meet friends for coffee every Wednesday? Attend worship services on Sunday mornings?  Watch the news every evening? Pick up your routine and bring it into your new situation with you. Incorporating your normal activities will help you feel all is well.

It’s not unusual to struggle with the transition into assisted living.  The things you do as you go through this change can make a world of difference.  Focus on all you have to gain, and bring familiar aspects of life with you. You’ll feel right at home before you know it!

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