It isn’t easy for adult children to make the decision to send their elderly parents to a retirement home. Unfortunately, considering the growth of the sandwich generation, it might be the only other alternative, especially if your mother and father need the proper care.
Despite the initial guilt, you need to realize that retirement homes have evolved over the years. Everything from using the latest technology to incorporating the best interior décor, there are many attributes that make a retirement home attractive.
But there is one thing you need to be cautious of: your parents need to partake in the process. You don’t want them feeling left out, especially considering that they will be the ones residing in such a facility.
Here are five tips to help your parents make a smooth transition to a retirement home:
1. Let Your Aging Mom & Dad Decide
Many aging mothers and fathers realize that they may need to move into a retirement home, especially if their adult children are stressed and burned out. They are generally open to the idea. However, they may not be as accepting if you are making the decision for them and leaving them out of the equation.
As you scan the market for retirement living communities, you need to ensure that you are permitting your mom and dad to join in on the search. This will be their new home for the remainder of their winter years, so don’t leave them in the dark.
In the end, they should give the thumbs up or thumbs down. Not you or your siblings.
2. See Your Parents Regularly
Let’s be honest: the shift to retirement complex is life-changing. At the same time, since your mom or dad may be away from their grandkids, neighbours, and friends, they could feel isolated and morose.
The simple solution is to see your parents on a regular basis.
Whether it is every day to start or a couple of times per week after they get accustomed to their new surroundings, you need to ensure that you’re visiting your parents frequently. Moreover, bring the grandkids, siblings, and other important loved ones.
3. Ensure They Have Some Prized Possessions
While it is true that new occupants are unable to bring their entire three-bedroom home to a retirement facility, they should have some of their most prized possessions.
Everything from their stamp collections to framed photos of the most cherished times in life, helping your parents choose and bring these types of possessions can make the transition a bit easier.
4. Get Them to Participate in Activities
Do you think your parents will now just sit in their suite and look at the clock? Do you think that your parents think that there is nothing left to do?
Rather than sitting in their unit watching reruns of “Seinfeld” or reading the same Vladimir Nabokov book for the ninth time, you should encourage them to participate in activities, either in the establishment or outside in the city.
It doesn’t need to be a daredevil stunt, but something like joining a bridge club, volunteering at a hospital or having fun at the gym should be championed.
5. Are They Sad? Invite Your Parents Over
Again, the first couple of months will be a difficult time for your elderly parents. They will inevitably feel sad, detached, and useless. It is your job as a son or daughter to prevent this from happening.
So, what’s the answer? That’s simple enough: invite them over.
Instead of you going to make a stop at the retirement home, they should go to your home to spend time with their family, create some fond memories, and act like they never left in the first place.
Retirement homes have greatly changed in recent decades. They are clean, fun, modern, and affordable. Of course, not all retirement homes are created equal, which means it is your job to make sure that the company gives off the right impression. You need to be on the lookout for the right staff, determine if the food is good enough for your lovely mom and dad, and know if other occupants are pleased.