The Best Advice for Seniors Transitioning into Assisted Living
Change is always a frightening proposition. If you are preparing to move into an assisted living situation, or did so recently, chances are you’re pretty nervous about it. Thankfully, assisted living is an especially healthy choice for many seniors. Read on for information and advice to help you through the transition.
Assisted living can be an especially good choice for older adults who live alone. Medicare Advantage points out isolation is a significant health risk to seniors, taking a toll on physical, emotional, and mental wellness. Unfortunately, of adults age 65 and over, 43 percent report they feel lonely on a routine basis, and the results can be devastating, leaving seniors at increased risk for hypertension, dementia, and depression. It even appears to shorten lives.
Good for you
Assisted living facilities can help reduce feelings of isolation, and they provide a safe, home-like environment. As a matter of fact, all facilities must meet certain minimum standards set by the appropriate state government. Levels of care and styles of environments vary, but many of the benefits these arrangements offer are the same. There is staff to help you with day-to-day tasks, such as dressing and bathing, and there are often organized events to help you thrive, such as exercise classes, hobbies, and outings.
What assisted living isn’t
There are many things assisted living isn’t, and one of the biggest misunderstandings seniors have about assisted living relates to restrictions. There is a fear assisted living will mean giving up many freedoms; however, there is a wide variety of facilities out there, and the result is you can choose one to suit nearly any personal preference. You can still participate in activities you enjoy, both organized and unorganized. You can also choose a facility that allows you to keep a pet. It’s important to research your options so you can feel at ease with your choice.
Another point of concern for many people is believing they are essentially moving to a nursing home. However, as Verywell Health explains, nursing homes are quite different. People in nursing homes typically have much more serious medical conditions than those in assisted living, and as a result, they are in need of healthcare throughout the day. Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, are for people who have higher levels of ability and independence.
Give yourself time
There is no denying that change is difficult. Even changes you know are good for you, and changes you look forward to making, cause stress. You likely are mourning your old lifestyle, and what you’re feeling is completely normal. Surround yourself with some familiar things, and try not to let feeling unsettled add to your distress. Acknowledge how challenging this is, and find some healthy coping methods to help you manage the stress.
Strategies that work
People have lots of ways of managing stressful situations, but not all of them are healthy. If you’re feeling anxious about your transition, Reader’s Digest suggests using meditation as a healthy stress-buster, which can encourage focus and relaxation, and make you feel more in control of your circumstances. Another idea is to put on some music you enjoy. Soothing sounds can help you let go of tension, while upbeat tunes are-mood lifters and energizers.
Getting out and about can also help you feel better. Not only is it a chance to start interacting with other residents, some research indicates socializing can lower stress hormones and help your body produce feel-good chemistry.
Assisted living facilities can provide an ideal living environment for seniors who aim to thrive. It’s a chance to enjoy freedom and independence while still getting some help with your daily life. With a little bit of time, you’ll feel right at home, and be able to savor the many benefits of assisted living.