Let's face it. Our grandparents, parents and even our current generation will eventually need some sort of assistance when we get older. Luckily, there are fabulous senior living facilities available that make getting older less intimidating. In fact, according to American Senior Communities, there were about one million Americans living in some sort of senior living facility in 2016. They predict that this number will double by 2030. Although some may be resistant to move to senior living facilities because of the psychological and emotional toll it takes, there are definitely many benefits. Here are a few tips for making your transition to and experience at a senior living facility a positive one.
*Don't Do It Alone
One of the biggest fears about moving into a living facility is that our family and friends will forget us. While the thought of being alone in a new and unfamiliar space is a bit frightening, if we involve our family and friends it makes the process much easier. Therefore, discussing your choice to live in a facility with your loved ones is crucial. Express your desire to stay connected and invite them over to visit you monthly, or perhaps schedule weekly phone calls. Keeping up a conversation and having a point of contact will make the transition feel less lonely and keep you close to your loved ones. With today's technology, it is even possible to have a live video chat to see the person in real-time. Making this transition does not mean you have to isolate yourself. Rather, it is an opportunity to stay in touch and make new friends.
*Stay Active and Socialize
While keeping up with the outside world is important, staying connected in this new place is just as important. Senior living facilities understand the need to stay occupied and fill the time with fun activities. Therefore, don't shy away from those opportunities when they come up. From exercise classes and crafts to bingo and movie nights, activities will help you to build a community and a new home for yourself. This is also a time for you to be creative and reflect. Is there some project you always dreamt of pursuing, but never got a chance to start? Now is your chance to think through your ideas and make it happen! Getting involved and developing friendships will make your living situation much more comfortable. Therefore, do a bit of research on the living facility to ensure that it has some of the activities you value and will look forward to.
*Take a Stroll
One worry that seniors have when entering a living facility is that they will no longer be able to lead a "normal" life and that they will be forced to stay inside all day. This is simply not true. If you are physically able, take a stroll around the block and get out of the facility for a little while. Walk to a nearby store or cafe and enjoy the fresh air. The last thing you want to do is make yourself feel stuck. Remember to utilize your independence and get out once in a while. There are even facilities that have buses or shuttles that can take you to where you need to go, whether you go out for a bite to eat, or need some retail therapy. If you have visitors keeping you company for a few hours, encourage them to take you somewhere else to get a change of scenery. All of these options are a great way to exercise your freedom and continue to live a normal, happy life.
Overall, according to American Senior Communities, these living facilities "help promote independence among residents while offering the chance to stay socially active." Thus, although moving can be a painful process and transition at first, there are ways to overcome these struggles. The best advice is to simply encourage your loved ones to support you in this time in your life and for you to be open to lots of changes. Be excited about all of the potential at this new senior living facility and enjoy yourself!