Transitions can be challenging in any season of life. When we face transitions, we also usually face leaving behind the familiar, the comfortable, and the things that make us feel safe and secure. And even when transitions bring good, they also usually mean loss: loss of who we are in known situations, the loss of friendships are the loss of communities we leave behind, and the loss of favorite places or routines.
So even if your loved one is thrilled to be moving to a senior living community, it’s important to anticipate—and help them anticipate—the challenges they are sure to face which come with every major life transition. It’s even more important to equip loved ones who are hesitant to move.
How to Encourage Your Loved One to Socialize After Moving to Senior Living
One key way you can help your loved one not only prepare for the transition to a senior living community but thrive after their move is to encourage them in their social life at the senior community. Choosing to press into the community is one of the most important choices a senior can make when moving through a transition, especially to a senior living community. Building strong friendships can encourage seniors and provide them with a strong support system, not to mention fun, laughter, and a new zest for life.
But the question is, how do you help your loved ones press into community when they are already feeling overwhelmed by the transition, or choose to focus on this important aspect if they don’t feel like they’ll need it? We’ve put together some ideas to start the process below.
Start the process early.
The most successful transitions come when the decision is made before a crisis forces the move. If your loved one may need to move to a senior living community in the future, start the conversation now, and work to facilitate a move well before the move becomes an absolute necessity. This gives your loved one time to get used to the idea.
Moreover, working ahead of the move allows your loved one to begin to visit different living communities to get an idea not only of the facility itself, but the people who live there. Maybe they’ll bump into old friends, or discover a thriving group of people who have similar interests or hobbies they could jump into.
Even better, once your loved one has decided on a living community, help them begin to visit regularly before the move. If there’s a group they want to be part of—a walking group or a Mahjong club, for example—drive them there the day and time the group meets so they can begin to get to know the other people in the group. Maybe stay for a meal afterwards to help build relationships even more. The more opportunities they have to build friendships before they move, the more easily they will transition into the social life once they’re there.
Meet with the activities director.
Every quality senior living community has an excellent activities director. This person ensures that there are not only fun, frequent activities for residents to enjoy, but that there is something for everyone. Talking to the activities director will allow your loved one to get to know what options are available to them, from shopping excursions to book clubs, worship services to yoga groups.
Once your loved one shows an interest in favorite hobbies or something new they want to learn, the activities director can introduce them to other people who enjoy these activities. Or, conversely, if your loved one’s favorite hobby isn’t available, the activities director will know how to go about getting that group up and running.
Offer as much (or as little) support as they need.
Plan to be as available as possible—perhaps even more present than you normally are—during this transition. Ahead of time and shortly after the move, do your best to attend as many events and meals with your loved one as you can. This allows your loved one to know that no matter what happens with the other residents, they are not alone and have you to rely on. Additionally, your presence may make them feel more comfortable, which may help them relax and more easily connect with the people around them.
Conversely, some seniors need space to build new friendships. As much as you may want to be present, listen to your loved one’s needs. If they need physical space, give it to them, and regularly check in through texting or phone calls.
Meet With Us To Learn More About the Many Benefits of Moving to a Senior Living Community
If you aren’t quite at the transition stage yet and want to learn more, or if you want to meet our activities director and friendly residents, give us a call to schedule a tour today. They are on hand to answer your questions and show you around. We’d love to help you and your loved one begin your journey!