When moving into an assisted living facility, the shift can be hard for both the resident and their family. You may have moved your loved one into an assisted living facility to help them be more social and gain a new community, but that doesn’t mean your job is done. Staying in touch and involved in your loved one’s life can make a huge difference in how they receive their new circumstances and their quality of life.
Here are a few ways to stay in touch and stay involved even if you are far away.
Get to Know the Community
If possible, when your loved one first makes the move, try to meet the other residents, their families if possible, and get to know the staff. When you’re involved, it will be easier for your loved one to connect a new life to their old one and find comfort in familiar interactions. While they may be hesitant to reach out and let others in at first, by breaking the ice for them, you can invite them to connect to others.
If you are close enough that you can visit on a regular basis, plan out those visits on a calendar and put that calendar in a visible place. This gives your loved one something to look forward to and planning out a whole month can make upcoming weeks more exciting. But, be sure to take the dates on the calendar seriously. Once the visit is on the calendar, every effort should be made to keep it. A missed date is worse than no planned date at all.
Send Care Packages
Fun packages can make the space between visits or scheduled calls more eventful and give your loved on something else to look forward to. But, when planning a package, get specific. Fill it with items that are personal to your family member, not just generic items. Try, books you’ve talked about, snacks you know they like, special pens if they like to do the crossword. These all show you are thinking about them when putting the package together. Getting these items can add an extra lift to their day even when they can’t see.
Even if your visits don’t happen often due to distance or other reasons, make the most out of the time you do have by truly engaging and listening to your loved one. This means acknowledging any challenges your loved one might be facing and recognizing that life has changed for them. They may feel as though they’ve lost something and, even if you know it’s the best choice, you should acknowledge those feelings. Ask questions that reveal genuine facts about their lives, not just surface level questions about the weather.
If you can’t be with your loved one, there are still ways to keep in touch. Technology has given us countless ways to reach out across distance and taking advantage of these advances is crucial when managing a long-distance relationship with your loved one. Video chatting through FaceTime or Skype will offer face-to-face contact and can close the distance even more than a phone call.
Smartphones are becoming more and more common, and even older generations are taking advantage of their perks. Send a daily text with pictures and updates to your loved one and bring a smile to their face.
Folks with loved ones at a Vista Springs community can take advantage of our newest addition, Care Merge. This app is updated daily by the staff with images and updates about your loved one. Access your family member’s profile with a password and experience their everyday activities to ensure they are living full of life.
Whether it's a big visit or a small gesture, just reaching out is a great way to make sure your loved one knows you care.