7 Steps for Moving into Assisted Living
Moving is never fun. Veterans and their families may be more used to it than most, but that doesn’t meant the move to an assisted living facility will be easy. When the time comes to make that move, you want to do everything you can to make the transition as easy and successful as possible.
To help you choose the right assisted living home for you or your loved one and make the move a little easier, here are some step-by-step instructions that can help.
1. Consider your preferences and requirements.
A senior may not be able to achieve precisely the lifestyle they most want in an assisted living facility, but there is some room to be picky about what amenities and features you know would make life better and what you can’t live without.
Sit down and work out a list of everything that’s an absolute requirement in the place you choose (for example, a pet friendly assisted living facility if you have a dog you don’t want to give up), and what things would be nice to have (maybe a pool or somewhere that’s a short drive to the doctor’s office). There may be some things you have to be flexible on, but knowing what you value most before you start your search will help you hone in on the best home faster.
2. Research your local options.
Do some searching and browsing to learn about the assisted living homes nearby. You can see what amenities each one offers, get a snapshot of their cost, and see what the reviewers have to say about their experiences.
By finding out the basics of what’s nearby and what each facility has to offer, you can narrow down your options and determine the four or five homes most likely to be the best fit for you or your loved one.
3. Determine what you can afford.
Before you make a final decision, you have to do some math. Carefully consider your current income and assets. Take into account what you can get from Medicare, from the A&A pension, and from any long-term care insurance you have. Check with each of your top choices to see what they accept. If you’ve been paying into long-term care insurance, you don’t want to end up at a home that won’t take it.
Do a review of what you have – including assets that can be sold or rented, like your home – and what you can get from each of those sources, then compare that number to the monthly costs of each assisted living home you’re considering. You may have to rule some of your top choices out here, but choosing a home that’s sustainable is important for your family’s long-term financial wellbeing.
4. Visit and gauge your opinion on each one.
You don’t want to make any decisions without seeing the places first, if you can help it. Pay a visit to each of your top choices, ask a lot of questions, and take the time to get a feel for each. You can see what the rooms look like, find out more about the activities and amenities they offer, and even ask to try a meal to see if you like the food.
Take the time to be discerning and consider all the factors likely to make a difference in your life there. This assisted living checklist can help you make sure there’s nothing you forget.
5. Decide what to keep, what to take, and what to get rid of.
If you’re moving from a house into a room in an assisted living facility, you’ll have much less space to work with. You’ll probably only be able to take a small portion of your belongings with you. Decide what items you can’t really live without – both those that provide a specific function (like your clothes and some items of furniture) and those that hold some sentimental value to you.
The rest will have to go. You can distribute some items to loved ones, sell others in a garage sale or online, and donate the rest to a good cause. If you choose to donate, some organizations will come pick up the items for you, so check with local charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Giving up items you’ve had for a while may be difficult, but it’s an important part of the transition to assisted living for most people.
What’s left needs to be packed up. Allow yourself some time for this, so it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming chore.
7. Make the move.
When everything’s packed and the assisted living home is ready for you to move in, hire movers or enlist friends to help you get everything over there. Just as you allowed yourself some time to pack everything up, allow yourself some time to unpack everything and settle in. It may take a few weeks to get comfortable, but eventually the place will start to feel like home.
Moving to an assisted living home will be a transition and it will almost certainly be hard. Make an effort to get involved in the activities of the community and start meeting people early on. Keep a standing date with your close family members – you don’t want to suddenly feel cut off from them. A weekly dinner or some regular help with errands can keep the people you’re closest to an active part of your life, even if the place you live has changed.