How Do I Adjust to Assisted Living?

If you are a new resident to an assisted living community – or if you will move into that type of residence soon – you may have some questions about how to go about adjusting to this new living environment. If you have a parent who is moving or has moved to an assisted living community, you may also have an interest in assisting them in adjusting smoothly to their new residence. 

There are a number of tips and tactics to consider utilizing as part of the adjustment process at an assisted living community. These suggestions have been used successfully by others and will likely be beneficial to you in adjusting to your new living environment. Six strategies are particularly important in assisting in adjusting to life in an assisted living community:

  • Familiarize yourself with staff
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Participate in events and activities
  • Dine with residents and staff
  • Stay involved in life outside the community

Familiarize Yourself With Staff

One of the first steps you should take as part of the process of adjusting to life in assisted living is to familiarize yourself with staff. This really is a two-part process:

  • First, identify who does what when it comes to the staff of the assisted living community you now call home.
  • Second, begin to get to know staff members, including those people that you may not interact with regularly. 

Get to Know Your Neighbors

A key element of adjusting to assisted living is getting to know your fellow residents. The manner in which this happens depends in no small way on the size of your assisted living community.

If you live in a large assisted living community, the first step is to get to know the people that live near you – literally, your neighbors. Bear in mind that some assisted living communities have hundreds of residents and are very large.

If you live in small assisted living community (sometimes called a residential care community), there may be 10 or fewer people. If that is the case, you are in a position to begin to get to know all of the people who reside in your community.

Spend Time With Loved Ones

The fact that you are moving or have moved into an assisted living community does not mean that all other aspects of your life have come to some kind of end. The reality is that your residence has changed and that you will be provided assistance with some elements of your daily life.

One tactic to employ to assist in your adjustment and transition into assisted living is to spend time with your loved ones. Do things with your family. Do things with your friends. Consider inviting them to your new home. Spend time with family and friends outside of the assisted living center. 

Spending time with loved ones ensures that those bonds remain in place during your transition period into assisted living and as you progress through your own life with the assisted living community as your homebase. Moreover, spending time with friends underscores a sense of normality in regard to your life as a whole. That sense of normality is important as you transition into residing at an assisted living community.

Participate in Events and Activities

A very important step to take to adjust to living in an assisted care community is to participate in the events and activities taking place at the facility. As a matter of routine, assisted living communities typically offer an array of different events, activities, and programs. You undoubtedly will be able to find things occurring at your community that you will enjoy or otherwise have a positive experience through participation.

Dine With Residents and Staff

Many assisted living communities offer different dining options. For example, you can take meals in a communal space or dining room. In the alternative, you can eat in your apartment or room. As part of adjusting to life in an assisted living community it is recommended that you dine with residents and staff (at least a good amount of time time). Enjoying meals with residents and staff is a solid way of getting to know other people in your community in a comfortable setting.

Stay Involved in Life Outside the Community

A moment ago we discussed spending time with loved ones as part of acclimating to living in an assisted care community. Bear in mind that just because you have moved (or will be moving) to an assisted living community doesn’t mean that you stop those things that you participated in previously in your life. You best adjust to assisted living when it becomes a part of your life and not a replacement for those things that came before. Therefore, stay involved in your life outside of the community as well.