Showing Your Love to a Senior in Assisted Living

Dear Sheila:

My mother moved to an assisted living community right after Christmas. Now that she is unpacked and settled in I am trying to figure out how we can make her feel as if she is still connected to family and friends. I know she is worried that everyone will forget about her!

Do you have any ideas for me? I am trying to create a list to share with everyone who is important to my mom.

Kind Regards,

Donna

Staying Connected to a Loved One in Assisted Living

Dear Donna:

Good idea! I know many other seniors who make a move to an assisted living community share your mother’s fear.

A few ideas you and your family members might find to be helpful include:

  • Visitor Calendar: Set up a schedule of which visitors will drop by to see your mother each day of the week. Spreading out her visitors will help avoid having three people come to see her one day and no one other days. It can be something as simple as sending up a calendar in Google Drive or a private group on Facebook.

  • Video Chat: Technology makes it easy to have virtual “face-to-face” conversations. If your mother has a tablet device or a smartphone, it can be as easy as setting her up on Skype. This free platform will allow loved ones to chat with her from wherever they are, whether across town or across the country.

  • Decorate for each Season: Make a point of helping your mother change her décor each season. Doors can be especially fun to decorate together. She might enjoy spending time with you or a grandchild exploring decorating ideas on Pinterest, too.

  • Cards and Emails: Your mom may also enjoy receiving cards and emails from loved ones. Encourage friends and family to send her a handwritten note a few times a month. While email might not seem as personal, it is a great way to let your mother know you think of her often.

  • Community Events: As a life enrichment director, I know firsthand how much residents enjoy having loved ones join them for community events and activities. And these events allow residents the chance to show off the grandkids, so bring them along, too! Some assisted living communities post their monthly calendar online to make it easier for families to access. Or you can ask to be put on the list to have one sent to you by email or snail mail every month.

  • Furry Friends: If you have a furry friend your mom is fond of, bring them along on your visit. While you probably need to check with the staff at her community about restrictions, pets are usually welcome and well-received by all residents.

I hope this list is helpful to you, Donna! And best of luck to your mother as she makes this transition.

Sincerely,

Sheila Walters, Assisted Living Life Enrichment Director