How to Smooth the Transition to Assisted Living
Moving to a new location can be exciting — and a bit daunting. Even if your senior loved one is eager to make the move to a premier assisted living community such as The Kensington White Plains, he or she may struggle with relinquishing a home and neighborhood that contains a lifetime of memories.
To help make our new residents feel as welcome as possible, and to smooth the transition for family members and everyone else involved, it’s important to take time to make the right decision.
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community for You
Selecting the best community for your loved one will depend on a number of factors, beginning with geography. For example, does the senior prefer to live:
- In the city or suburbs?
- In a warm climate, or one with four seasons?
- Close to children and grandchildren?
- Near a major medical center, or close to shopping and entertainment? (Obviously being close to all of these is the ideal.)
While some of these considerations are not mutually exclusive, it’s important to know what matters most to the senior, and what will best support their well being as they age. This means you should:
- Select for who the senior is now. An assisted living community that has a swimming pool when your loved one hasn’t been in the water in decades is planning for an outdated perception: understandable, but not realistic. Choose a community that matches their present needs.
- Plan for the future. By the same token, choose a community where your loved one can “age in place” without having to move again if their needs change. At The Kensington, we offer true aging in place: once someone comes to live with us, they can stay as long as they want or need. The Kensington is unique in offering enhanced assisted living, which means we are able to provide a very high level of care in a beautiful, elegant, and warm environment.
Before the Move
- Meet with the assisted living team. Long before you and your senior loved one actually start sorting, packing and preparing to move (or hire someone else to do this), arrange a meeting with the assisted living staff who will facilitate your loved one’s move to their new community.
Our Director of Assisted Living, Cosme Navarro, is a nurturing relationship builder who knows how to listen. He says it is “an honor to serve and look after all the extraordinary individuals who reside here.”Ask Cosme all the questions you like, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification about any concerns you have, such as how much of your own furniture will fit in your new living space.
- Select a target date for the move. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time, not only to pack, but also to say goodbye to your old neighborhood, merchants you may be fond of (and who will surely want to know you’re moving!), acquaintances, etc.
- Downsize wisely. If you have a cherished end table or painting that will help the new space feel like home, be sure to plan on packing it for the move, once you’ve determined it will fit well in your new Kensington home.
- Have a friend or family member come along on moving day. Moving is stressful no matter what your age or situation. If you recall settling in at college, or helping a child get situated at their college, you remember the anxiety of moving day, even though it’s a positive experience. Big changes and letting go of the known bring up strong emotions. That’s the nature of life, and it’s OK to feel what you feel.
How to Transition to Assisted Living After the Move
- Give yourself time to adjust.This is a major life transition, and a big adjustment. Even though you’ve looked forward to moving to your new assisted living home, it’s completely natural to feel vulnerable and sad.
In fact, relocation grief is real. Leaving one’s home of many years is a huge upheaval, and feelings of grief and loss are normal. Take some time to acknowledge these feelings rather than trying to be too upbeat too soon.
- Personalize your new living space. This is your home now; we encourage residents to decorate as they see fit, especially if they’ve brought that treasured painting from their old home to their new assisted living home. Personal touches will go a long way towards making the space feel welcoming, and “yours”.
- Speak up. If you have any concerns or questions after an adjustment period, we’re here to help. We want you to feel as welcome and relaxed at The Kensington White Plains as you did in your old home.
- Stay in touch! We welcome families and friends of our residents to stop by and say hello any time. Stay for a meal, chat with the team and other residents. If your loved ones live at a distance, regular phone calls, video calls and emails can all make a big difference.
One of the best ways to ease the transition to assisted living is to immerse yourself in the community. Our outstanding Life Enrichment program offers an ever-evolving calendar of events seven days a week, from morning till evening, which can keep residents as busy as they choose to be.
Whether you enjoy dancing or Tai chi, gardening or golf, cooking or karaoke, we’ve got something for everyone. And if you have a favorite activity that isn’t offered at the moment, please tell us about it — the odds are that others will be interested, too, and we can add it to the program. Our full-time Life Enrichment coordinators work tirelessly to keep our activities schedule diverse and interesting.
Activities and friendships have been shown to reduce stress, preserve wellness, keep the mind sharp, and increase feelings of worth, especially for seniors. So, we are always searching for new ways to stimulate the mind, strengthen the body, and nourish the spirit.
We look forward to welcoming you home to The Kensington White Plains!