Moving to an assisted living facility is a significant life transition. For many seniors and their families, it marks a new chapter that can bring about a mix of emotions—from relief and anticipation to sadness and anxiety. Being prepared can ease the transition and make it smoother for everyone involved. Below is a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process and ensure that you have everything in order for this new stage.
1. Research and Choose the Right Facility
- Visit Multiple Facilities: Before finalizing your choice, visit a few places to get a feel for their environment, staff, and amenities.
- Read Reviews: Look for online reviews and ask for recommendations.
- Check Licenses and Certifications: Ensure the facility is up to code and meets state requirements.
2. Financial Planning
- Budget: Make a detailed budget including monthly costs, potential extra charges, and any potential financial aid or insurance coverage.
- Insurance and Benefits: Review insurance policies and see if any of them cover assisted living costs. Also, check if you qualify for Medicaid or other assistance programs.
3. Medical Considerations
- Medication List: Make a comprehensive list of all medications, including doses and times taken.
- Medical History: Document any allergies, surgeries, and ongoing health conditions.
- Primary Care: Make sure your primary care doctor and the facility’s staff are in sync regarding your medical needs.
4. Downsizing Possessions
- Sort: Go through possessions and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or throw away.
- Give Keepsakes to Family and Friends: If there are items you no longer need but are of sentimental value, consider giving them to loved ones.
5. Self Storage: Making the Most of Downsizing
When moving to assisted living, the reality is that there might not be enough space for all your loves ones’ possessions. A self-storage unit can be invaluable in these situations. Here’s how to navigate this aspect:
- Size Matters: Estimate how much space you’ll need. Storage units come in various sizes, so select one that fits your belongings without being overly large or too small.
- Climate Control: If you have items sensitive to temperature or humidity (like antique furniture or important documents), consider a climate-controlled unit.
- Location: Choose a storage facility that’s conveniently located, either near your current home, family, or the assisted living facility.
- Access: Ensure the storage facility has reasonable access hours and security measures.
- Inventory: Make a list of items you’re storing. Consider taking photos of valuable items and noting their condition before storage.
- Organize: Use sturdy boxes, clearly label everything, and consider shelving units to keep things accessible.
6. Legal and Official Documents
- Advance Directives: Ensure you have a living will, healthcare proxy, or any other directive in place.
- Power of Attorney: Decide who will make decisions for you if you’re unable to and ensure the paperwork is in place.
- Update Contacts: Make sure the facility has a list of emergency contacts, including family members and close friends.
7. Personalizing Your New Space
- Decor: Bring familiar items to make your new space feel like home—photos, favorite blankets, or decorative items can help.
- Functional Furniture: Ensure you have the necessary furniture, keeping in mind the size of your new living space.
8. Emotional Preparation
- Talk: Discuss the move with friends and family to process your feelings.
- Join a Support Group: Connect with others going through the same transition.
9. Settling into Your New Environment
- Orientation: Familiarize yourself with the facility. Know where common areas, dining facilities, medical stations, and emergency exits are located.
- Safety First: Ensure your room or apartment is safe. Look out for potential trip hazards, and familiarize yourself with emergency response systems or call buttons.
- Meal Plans: Understand the dining options available, including meal times, dietary accommodations, and any alternate dining venues.
10. Building Connections in Assisted Living
- Join Clubs or Activities: Most facilities offer a range of activities from book clubs to exercise classes. This is a great way to meet people and develop a routine.
- Family Visits: Encourage your family to visit often, especially in the initial days, to make the transition smoother.
- Open Communication: Get to know the staff and maintain open communication with them. This helps in creating a conducive and comfortable living environment.
11. Ongoing Health and Wellness
- Regular Check-Ups: Ensure you have regular medical check-ups. Use the facility’s in-house medical services or make arrangements for outside visits.
- Mental Well-being: Consider counseling or therapy if you’re finding the transition challenging. Many facilities offer or can refer you to mental health professionals.
- Stay Active: Participate in physical activities, whether it’s organized exercise classes or simple daily walks.
12. Maintaining Independence
- Daily Routine: Establish a routine that includes personal care, leisure activities, and social interactions. A structured day can help maintain a sense of purpose and independence.
- Personal Mobility: If possible, keep personal mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs. The facility can also provide recommendations on devices that can aid in independence.
13. Feedback and Concerns
- Residents’ Council: Many facilities have a residents’ council or similar body where you can voice concerns, provide feedback, or get involved in decision-making.
- Open Dialogue: Don’t hesitate to communicate any concerns or needs with the management. It’s essential for your comfort and well-being.
14. Financial Re-evaluation
- Regularly Review Finances: As costs may increase or your financial situation might change, periodically review your finances to ensure you can comfortably cover the expenses.
- Financial Assistance: Be aware of any available financial aid or benefits. Conditions can change, and you might become eligible for assistance in the future.
15. Staying Connected Outside
- Technology: Learn to use technology, like video calls, to stay connected with family and friends who might be far away.
- Outings: If the facility organizes outings or if you have the means to, venture out for shopping, attending events, or simply enjoying nature.
Moving to assisted living can be hard
Transitioning to assisted living is as much about emotional adaptation as it is about the physical move. With a proactive approach, open communication, and a focus on well-being, it can be a positive and enriching experience. Remember, this is a new chapter in your life, and with the right steps, it can be filled with joy, connections, and continued growth.
If you are moving to an assisted living facility in Colorado Springs, please check out our Colorado Springs storage unit selection.