The elderly and their families often struggle with the decision to move into senior housing. Older adults who are on board with moving to an independent living community, assisted living community, or memory care community will still face challenges as they adjust to their new surroundings and neighbors. Many older adults react to the new environment by isolating themselves in their home for a while before venturing out to meet people and get involved.
Caregivers on the outside, who want their parents to seize the chances presented by the move, can find this extremely irritating and upsetting. Although helping a loved one make this change might be challenging, there are steps you can take to increase their opportunities for socialization and participation in Attalla, AL assisted living communities.
How to Motivate Aging Parents to Be More Social in Assisted Living
If your elderly parents are not adjusting well to life in an assisted living community, you can help them feel more at ease engaging with their new neighbors by following these suggestions:
First, it is important to keep in mind that newcomers often need some time to integrate into established communities and make new friends. Do not force your loved one into doing anything too fast. Moving into a community entails acknowledging to oneself that one is experiencing health challenges and being increasingly dependent on others, making one the “new kid on the block” which can be tough. Motivate them to make conversation in a gradual pace.
- Adjustment Period
Your family member’s health and level of sociability will play a role in how long this phase of adjustment lasts. Spend some time observing the community’s activities, friend circles, and leisure options during this period. There could be a group of “grumpy old men” who got together in the common area to share stories and gripe about the world, much like your dad might like. This can provide him with an opportunity to meet some new people who share his interests. Do female bakers or crafters belong in your mom’s social circle? Maybe one day she will want to join them too. If you have even a brief familiarity with resident dynamics and the activities available at the retirement community, you will be in a far better position to sort through opportunities and provide ideas that are more likely to be adopted by your parent.
On the flip side, learn about what sort of solo activities are available at the community. Is there a place where your dad can go to tinker with things or construct something without a lot of interference from other people? Is there anywhere your mother could go to crochet in peace before she feels ready to join groups? Just getting your loved one out of the apartment and giving them the option to connect with others is a significant step in the right direction. The common areas of the community, such as the dining rooms and activity rooms, provide a fantastic neutral ground for residents to meet one another and strike up talks and forge friendships.