Assisted Living

11/17/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Moving to a new home is stressful, no matter the reason for the change. Transitioning to an assisted living facility is often emotional, since the move may feel like a loss of independence to the new resident and their loved ones. As difficult as this time may be, there are ways to ease the process and make the new facility feel more like home.

1. Bring Items From Home

Making the new space feel like “home” (in addition to referring to it as such in conversation) is an important step; this will help ease the transition and make its new inhabitant feel like a sense of belonging.

  • Bring as many pieces from your loved one’s former home as possible; this is a great way to make assisted living feel like home. Filling the new space with familiar items (furniture, paintings, photographs, décor, and so on) will make the move much smoother and more comfortable. For memory care patients, using beloved items may especially bring comfort in this new home.
  • Choose décor pieces such as curtains, quilts, or artwork that make your loved one happy.
  • Use colors that are bright and cheerful, since color is known to play a role in mood. If you are helping a loved one transition into a new space, be sure to cater to their taste, even if it doesn’t fit yours.

2. Maximize Space

Many seniors transition from a larger house to a studio or apartment. This poses a challenge when consolidating items – and still trying to make the new home feel spacious.

  • Measure the new space before deciding what items can be moved in; this will help remove the stress of discovering that bulky pieces do not fit. 
  • Hang a large mirror to give the illusion of more space and to increase the amount of natural light in the room.
  • Choose light fixtures that make the room feel larger, especially if there is not much natural light available.
  • Do not crowd the space. If the decision to downsize proves to be extremely difficult, offer to store items, if possible, to rotate in at a later date. Consider using apartment-sized furniture to maximize space.

3. Maximize Functionality

Effective usage of all available space is key. Consider a cube storage unit with lightweight cloth or plastic cube boxes labeled for miscellaneous items or even clothing.

Look for pieces that can serve two functions, such as an ottoman that opens up for storage; or find a hutch that provides a mounted mirror, storage, and a flat surface on which to display framed photos, books, and décor.

4. Comfort Is Key!

If it’s possible to bring that favorite arm chair, bring it along. Be sure your loved one has a comfortable mattress and pillows for the best sleep possible in their new environment. Pack a fan or extra blankets, especially if your loved one may not have control of their own thermostat.

5. Create a Safe Space

Check for tripping hazards (or rolling hazards for wheelchair-bound patients). Be sure that rugs and electrical cords are properly secured or stored. Ensure that things are within easy reach, especially items that will be used regularly. Do not use large furniture pieces that limit walkways.

6. Stay Connected

Photos are an obvious way to evoke feelings of connection with family or friends. Choose a few favorites to hang on the wall, and consider loading a larger variety of pictures on a digital photo frame, which rotates through a vast selection of pictures.

Fill a large tabletop album or scrapbook (or create a printable one online using photo book software) with photos. Include memories of special occasions, travel or vacations, friends, family, grandchildren, or perhaps even a beloved pet.

To really help make assisted living feel like home, bring your loved one’s friends and family into the mix. If possible, set up a laptop or tablet for video chatting, like Zoom, and connect it to the internet. Create a schedule during the transition time with various friends and family to help your loved one feel connected as they transition into a new environment and make new friends.  

Change – even good change – can be difficult and stressful. Implementing some of these tips can help your loved one feel comfortable and at home in a brand new space.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff