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Tips for Helping a Loved One Adjust to Assisted Living

By Patti Urban, CDP, CSA

Elderly friends
Help to Adjust to Assisted Living

Adjusting to an assisted living community can be challenging for a loved one. Here are some tips to help them with the transition:

1. Communicate Openly. Talk to your loved one about their feelings and concerns regarding the move. Encourage them to express their emotions and actively listen to their thoughts. Reassure them that their feelings are valid and that you're there to support them.

2. Involve Them in the Decision-Making Process. Whenever possible, include your loved one in decisions related to moving to an assisted living community. Let them have a say in choosing the facility, room decor, or daily routine. Empowering them in decision-making can help them regain a sense of control and ownership.

3. Visit the Facility Together. Before the move, visit the assisted living facility together. Familiarize your loved one with the surroundings, introduce them to staff members, and participate in any orientation programs available. This can ease anxiety and make them feel more comfortable in their new environment.

4. Bring Familiar Items. Encourage your loved one to bring personal belongings, such as photographs, favorite books, or treasured possessions, to decorate their new living space. Having familiar items around can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.

5. Establish a Routine. Help your loved one establish a daily routine in their new setting. Consistency and structure can provide a sense of stability. Coordinate with the staff to ensure that your loved one's routine aligns with the facility's schedules and activities.

6. Encourage Participation in Activities. Assisted living facilities often offer a range of social and recreational activities. Encourage your loved one to participate in these activities to foster new friendships and engage in meaningful experiences. Participation can help them adjust to their new community and combat feelings of isolation.

7. Stay Connected. Maintain regular contact with your loved one through visits, phone calls, or video chats. Knowing that they have ongoing support and connection with family and friends can make the transition easier. Additionally, encourage other family members and friends to visit or reach out as well.

8. Collaborate with Staff. Establish a positive relationship with the staff members at the assisted living facility. Regularly communicate with them, provide them with relevant information about your loved one's preferences and needs, and address any concerns that arise. Working together can ensure your loved one receives personalized care and attention.

9. Be Patient and Understanding. Adjusting to a new living situation takes time. Your loved one may experience a range of emotions, including sadness, frustration, or even resistance. Be patient, understanding, and empathetic throughout the process, offering your support and reassurance as they adapt to their new surroundings.

10.Seek Professional Support if Needed. If your loved one is having significant difficulty adjusting, consider involving a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, who specializes in geriatric care. They can provide additional guidance, support, and coping strategies tailored to your loved one's specific needs.

Remember, each individual's adjustment process is unique, so be flexible and responsive to your loved one's needs as they transition to an assisted living community.


Patti Urban, CDP, CSA, is the CEO of Aging Care Planning Solutions, a geriatric care management practice that assists the elderly and their families with advance care planning as well as guidance for patients with life-limiting illnesses. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner, Certified End of Life Doula, a Certified Senior Advisor, former Executive Director of a memory-care assisted living community, and former owner of a home care agency. She can be reached at

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