As you help your parents transition to living in a senior community, knowing the right people will pave the way for all of you. Your loved ones will be well taken care of no matter who you know, but having the right people to go to in case of any questions or concerns can make all the difference in the world. This can also ease your mind and your parents’. Here are a few people you should make sure to get to know at your parents’ new home:
Consistently assigned caretakers or their manager
If your parents require some level of medical care or other assistance, get to know the person or people who provide it most often. They can let you know if something seems concerning about your parents’ state of mind or health, of course, but there are also little ways to collaborate to make your parents more comfortable and happy at their assisted living community. Maybe Mom is starting to get cold more often and she’d love a few lap blankets, or perhaps you can help clarify with the care worker that Dad didn’t speak English as a first language and has some odd turns of phrase or trouble finding words that aren’t cause for alarm. Care workers are the people who are likely to spend the most time with your parents, so they can really help you understand how well the adjustment is going. They can also let you know about anything you can do to ease that adjustment. If your parents don’t have consistent caregivers, get to know the manager of the caregivers they do have for the same reasons.
Activities or lifestyle-enrichment coordinator
Get to know the person who is in charge of planning activities and excursions at your parents’ assisted living community. If Dad talks about wanting to go on a fishing trip, you’ll know who to talk to about it. This can also be helpful for your parents’ cultural and religious needs, as the coordinator of lifestyle-enrichment events probably has community connections to religious leaders or can help plan a specific cultural event. These aspects of life don’t get less important after a move to an assisted living community, and you may be able to articulate your parents’ needs better than they can.
Furthermore, knowing the person who plans activities can help you make sure your parents pay attention to the ones that are relevant and interesting to them. This can help them avoid boredom and isolation – and even a trip to a fancy grocery store can really brighten a day that seems dreary and upsetting at the beginning of the adjustment period.
Roommates and neighbors
If your parent or parents have roommates, you’ll naturally get to know them over time. Even if they don’t, though, it’s important to get to know their neighbors. Anything you can do to help foster a sense of community will be appreciated by both your parents and their neighbors. Treat them just as you treat your own neighbors – friendly gestures, an occasional invitation to visit and a cheerful word when you see them should be more than enough. When you can’t be around, you want to make sure someone is there emotionally for your parents, even if that only means sharing a favorite game or TV show, and their neighbors are a good choice for this. It’s also just a good idea to know who your parents live near, as their new community will be an important part of their lives.