7 Things That Seniors Can Do to Adapt to a New Assisted Living Community

Moving into an assisted living community isn’t easy. It’s a new environment with new people. Seniors may find the process to be overwhelming and confusing at times.

These facilities understand the needs of older adults. They are designed to help make the transition as easy as possible. Being proactive will help smooth the process even more. When you ask, “What services are included if I move into an assisted living community?” you should also think about resources provided for new residents specifically.

You don’t have to face this process alone. The following list will help you get started as you begin a move into a new assisted living community.

Know What Your Community Has to Offer

You should have access to a wealth of information about the assisted living community before you become a part of it. Make sure you know what it has to offer you. This will help you figure out what amenities and activities might be helpful as you adapt to your new surroundings.

If you have an interest, join a club or group related to it. Many facilities host groups like book clubs, gardening clubs, fitness classes, and hobbyist groups.

You can also check out upcoming holiday events and social gatherings. Most facilities host events for major holidays as well as gatherings during non-holiday days.

Get Involved with the Assisted Living Community

Dive into your assisted living community by getting involved. Join groups and spend time in communal areas. This is a great way to make new friends, which can help tremendously when getting used to a new place.

Some facilities also work with charities and non-profit organizations. Seniors may fundraise or make items for people in need. This is a wonderful way to feel more at home while also doing something good for someone else.

Talk to staff to learn more about fundraisers and charity work. These activities may be more common around major holidays like the Christmas season.

Schedule Visits with Friends and Family

Seeing family and old friends can be a breath of fresh air. Contact loved ones and schedule visits with them. It’s important to understand that they may not be able to visit every day, but having visits to look forward to can ease the stress of a move.

If you live far from loved ones, try using modern technology to reach out. A smartphone or tablet PC is a great way to facilitate video calls. Most assisted living communities provide support with technology. A staff member can help you set up a video calling app and be there to start the call if you need help.

Add a Personal Touch to Your Living Space

Your assisted living home should feel like your own. Add a personal touch to your new living space. A good way to do this is to introduce some personal items.

Space is usually limited in an assisted living room, so you may not be able to bring large furniture or a lot of items in. However, a few smaller belongings can make a difference. Hang family photos on the walls or display keepsakes and decorations on shelves or a dresser. A comfy blanket from home may make your bed cozier.

Introduce Yourself to Your New Neighbors

Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. This will help open communication and create opportunities to make friends. Socializing is also very beneficial for older adults. It helps improve mental health and reduces the risk of dementia.

Just a quick hello and sharing your name can open the door to years of friendship. If you don’t feel confident about approaching new neighbors, instead join them in communal spaces or participate in group activities. This will take some of the social pressure off but allow you to ease into a conversation.

Clubs and groups can also help you find common interests that might spark interesting discussions.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Take care of your mental health during this time. What that looks like may vary from one person to another. Seeking the services of a therapist is a good start. They can help you work through any fears or concerns you have about the move into a new assisted living community.

Also, make sure to continue eating healthy foods and exercising. Both have a direct impact on senior mental health.

If you notice the symptoms of depression, seek medical advice immediately. Common symptoms of depression in seniors include:

  • Feeling anxious, sad, or empty
  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, helpless, or worthless
  • Unexplained irritability or restlessness
  • Decreased energy levels or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory loss
  • Insomnia or changes in sleeping routine
  • Changes in diet or weight loss or gain
  • Talking or moving more slowly
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek help right away. There are people and services available that can help you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help during or after your move into a new assisted living facility. Talk to loved ones or staff members if you feel like you are struggling or need assistance with a task or access to an amenity. You have many resources available, so don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own.