One of the more difficult times of life is suffering the loss of a loved one, especially a spouse. If this has happened to one of your parents, they are left to continue on without the spouse’s love and support. But for older couples, they may also have been providing care for each other. When one of them becomes widowed, there is not only a void in their emotional life but in their ability to handle the tasks of daily living as well. If the remaining spouse continues to live at home, this could lead to more loneliness and social isolation. And if care needs aren’t being met, quality of life may decline.
If you have a widowed parent in assisted living, consider the following suggestions to help smooth these significant transitions:
The best way to support your loved one is to allow them to grieve. Don’t rush your parent’s adjustment or acceptance. Give them the time they need. Grief takes as long as it takes.
Be there for support and help but reassure your parents that the decisions are his or hers to make, including moving into an assisted living community.
Sometimes adult children forget to listen to what their parents are saying. Talk to your parents often but also pay attention to their behavior and what they may leave unsaid.
Talk to your parents about their priorities for community life and then help try to find them. Would it be the activities available? The location? Whether there are walking trails? Discover what is most important to them.
Families can start their research on-line or talk to others but eventually you’ll want to personally visit any communities that you’re interested in. Your parents need to see first-hand what home will be like.
Assisted living can be the best answer for a widowed parent, especially if a helping hand with daily tasks is needed. Here are 10 tips for helping your parent adjust to the move:
Change is often hard and your parents are going through major life transitions. Let them know you are there to support and help. Try to be positive but also sympathetic.
This will be your loved one’s home so make sure they are involved in choosing the residence. Look for options that meet the parent’s preferences for size, layout, views, natural light and location.
Helping the transition for your widowed parent in assisted living can begin with bringing familiar and favored possessions when possible. Not only will it feel like home but will be comforting as well.
It may be helpful to remind parents how happy it would make their husband or wife to know that they are well taken care of and safe.
There are many widowed parents in assisted living so communities are prepared to help make these transitions. Let them know your parents have suffered a recent loss and ask them to pay a little more attention or care.
Whenever possible, it’s helpful for parents to make more than one visit before moving in so they can get to know the staff and care team members. This way, familiar faces will be waiting when they do arrive.
One of the best steps your widowed parent in assisted living can take is to begin meeting the other residents and neighbors. Communities make this easy with activities and social events.
Have several compassionate conversations with your parents to help set realistic expectations. Help them to understand that it will take time to make all of these adjustments but reassure them things will get easier.
Parents need to know their adult children will still visit regularly after they move into the community. Support them to create their own life but make sure they don’t feel abandoned.
Staying busy helps many widowed parents in assisted living with adjusting – but is also good for their physical and emotional health. Help them check out the opportunities for fitness or to join an activity of interest.
If you’re considering whether a senior living community could be the perfect support for your widowed parent, we hope you found these suggestions helpful.
We also invite you to visit one of our Ingleside communities. We believe it’s even easier to enjoy life with the benefits that we offer, including:
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.