Ways to Stay Close To Your Loved Ones in an Assisted Living Facility
Moving into an assisted living facility can be a difficult transition for everyone involved. Your parent or loved one is feeling the pain of relinquishing some of their independence. Not only that, but you may be feeling guilt juxtaposed with relief, knowing they’ll have help when they need it.
Once the transition is complete, new challenges will arise. You probably worry about your loved one’s quality of life, emotional state and more. You may also be concerned about your relationship. How do you maintain a close connection with someone you love, when you simply aren’t around them as much as you were before?
Maintaining The Connection With Your Loved One
There are several things you can do to keep your relationship strong and healthy. Although your loved one is now in an assisted living or rest home facility, the vital factors of a close relationship haven’t changed. Here are a few things that might help you maintain the connection you’ve always had.
- Visit, visit, visit
While this seems like a no-brainer, it should be mentioned first because it’s so vital to the emotional state of your loved one – or anyone for that matter. Nothing allows depression and frustration to set in faster than feeling alone. Visit as often as you can. Commit to a few specific days per month that you’ll set aside for these visits. You can even bring games, movies, or other activities you can enjoy together. Aside from dropping in yourself, encourage other family members to stop by or even call. Your loved one needs to know they are an integral part of the family no matter where they live.
- Paint the town
Feeling isolated from the rest of the world is akin to feeling lonely. You probably used to go shopping, see movies, or run errands together. Keep up with these traditions! The fact that your loved one is in an assisted living facility doesn’t have to change that.
- Show affection
When you’re together, show the same kind of affection and concern you always have. A warm touch, an embrace, or a few kind words can mean the world to someone when they’re feeling out of sorts. Your loved one needs to know you’re thinking about them and are concerned about their emotional and physical well-being. Send this affection in letters so they can refer back to them in times of loneliness. Express these feelings often in person and over the phone.
- Keep conversation real
It’s easy to let conversations stay superficial, especially when there may be underlying feelings of guilt or pain. Make every effort not to slip into that habit. Talk about how both of you are doing on every level. Discuss current events and how the rest of the family is getting along. Laugh.
Maintaining a close relationship throughout and after the transition to assisted living can help ease everyone’s feelings. Remember: they are still the same person they have always been, so treat them as such. With a little effort, you can stay close to your loved one no matter where they happen to live.