How to Help a Loved One Adjust to a New Home

If your mother has lived in her three-bedroom house for years, making her new senior living apartment feel like home may seem like a stretch. Remember, though, “home is where the heart is.” Here are a few tips to help put heart into your mom’s new home and new life.

  1. Surround her with the people she loves — or at least their photos. Help her choose her favorite photos, frame them, and integrate them into her new décor.
  2. Surround her with the things she loves. Sometimes the most important things in life aren’t the biggest, newest, or shiniest. Maybe it’s an old jewelry box (her first gift from your father), a woven artisan basket (picked up during one of their exotic vacations), a ceramics collection, or a particular piece of furniture.
  3. Make the apartment as comfortable as possible. This may sound obvious, but choosing a senior living community can help make day-to-day life easier. Choose furniture that makes it easier to get up (time to retire the old low-rider sofa). Bathrooms should offer safety features, like assist bars. Avoid tripping hazards like throw rugs. Make sure your mother knows how to use the emergency call system. If she feels comfortable and safe, she will feel more at home.
  4. Help her keep in touch with family and friends. Send an announcement to family members and friends so they can visit, call, and write. Work with the community’s resident services director to introduce her to other older adults at the community whose interests, personalities, and values match hers. If possible, set her up with technology like a tablet computer so she can use email, social media, or even video chat.
  5. Help her get involved. The community’s lifestyle or activities director can assist you. Check out the community areas and monthly calendar for programs that may interest her. Maybe it’s a cooking demonstration by the community’s chef, a lecture series by local academics, or art classes. Don’t forget the community’s fitness classes — they should be designed for various levels of health and fitness. There may be spiritual and volunteer opportunities as well.

There will be a period of adjustment, but when your mother is settled into her new home and involved with her new friends and new activities, you may find that she’s busier than ever!