Your mother just moved to assisted living. You know it’s important to visit, but you feel sad, even guilty, whenever you see her alone in the apartment. She seems to be adjusting fairly well, though she hasn’t met many neighbors or made friends yet, which also makes you upset.
A change of place at any stage of life is an adjustment that takes time. What prompted the move — the death of a spouse, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other illness, or a change in mobility — deepens the emotional struggle (for everyone involved) that is a natural part of the transition process.
Here are a few tips to help you keep in touch despite difficult emotions:
- It’s a change of place, not person: Even if your father’s decline was the reason for his move, he is still your father and needs your support and love.
- Amend, don’t abort: Did you and your grandma enjoy regular shopping trips together? If she can’t get around easily, do some related activities: browse catalogs, read the latest fashion news, or watch a fashion-related TV show.
- Ask, don’t assume: Some may fall into a trap of assuming that a loved one is content with the slower pace of assisted living when in fact there may be a desire to do something active. If you’re not sure what your loved one would like to do, ask him/her directly.
For more ideas, check out How to Have Meaningful Visits in Assisted Living.