Depending on what you make of it, moving into an assisted living apartment can either be treated as a new adventure or signal the start of trying times. Any move can upset a familiar routine, it will likely be at least a short while before the new surroundings feel like "home, sweet home." But when you learn the tricks of individuals and families who move a lot, you can start making a new place feel like home quickly.
The best advice from these experienced movers is to pack a small "Survival Kit." The components of that kit will vary from one person to another, but the idea is the same.
Just as a child will fall asleep in peace while clutching a beloved stuffed animal, even seniors will benefit by having some sort of 'security blanket" readily available. A cherished reminder of the previous home is an antidote to the stress and anxiety of a move. Solace can come from a framed photo of children or grandchildren, a favorite tea cup and silver spoon, any memento of friends, family and lifestyle, or a cozy knitted throw to chase away the chill— both the physical kind and the emotional.
Determine Your First Priorities
It will be impossible to exactly replicate previous surroundings, so it is sometimes best to integrate a search for new decor into moving plans. But be careful to provide some reminder of the home just left.
Military family members who thrive during multiple moves speak of the importance of being able to access "familiar stuff." Knowing that when the boxes are opened, some belongings will assume places in new surroundings will also be a comfort to anyone moving into an assisted living apartment. Discussing the move— honestly, no matter what the circumstances— will also help.
Even if it takes a while to hang pictures on the walls, fill the bookshelves, put away the linens and arrange the furniture, try to keep sensory reminders close at hand. A bowl of potpourri with a familiar scent will recall a favorite garden view, a portable radio or MP-3 player allows favorite music to fill the silence. Even a treasured bowl filled with fresh fruit, a small candy dish offering tempting chocolates or a book of poetry can be a source of comfort.
Decide What to Do Now and What Can Wait until Later
There are no real rules governing the proper ways to make a move. Logistics can be planned, of course, but only you can determine the reasons and the rhythm that suits your needs and serves your purposes. If an assisted living apartment is on the horizon, there are many steps you can take to make that new home feel comfortable as soon as possible. Planning is key, but don't let it become an overwhelming burden.
Numerous resources are available for those who are contemplating or making a move, and for caregivers or assistants in a move. Hands-on help is often more valued than advice; and patience truly is a virtue as amove to smaller quarters is invariably trying, even under the best of circumstances. Those who have moved often in life will attest that it is difficult to part with treasured belongings. But, there is something equally satisfying— and freeing— about discovering how nice life can be when lived with less!
The Devil Is in the Details
It's all those little things that get in the way of the best laid plans. So, it will help to cultivate your sense of humor, as well. Whether you are the "movee," the mover, or just a helper on the scene, it helps to accept the inevitability of something going wrong. It just happens. And, often, the best solution is a big belly laugh.