Making the decision to move your parent into a senior living community is a big one. You’ll want to make sure they’re happy, healthy, and safe in their new home, but it can be hard not to feel guilty about putting them into a situation where they might feel isolated or lonely. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can help reduce that sense of guilt and ensure your parent is thriving in their new community.
Make Time To Visit Regularly
Visiting regularly is one of the best things you can do to stay connected with your parent and help them feel like they are still part of your life. And it takes little time, so there’s no excuse not to. You should visit at least once a month, but even if it’s just for a few minutes or an hour every few weeks, it matters—and it’ll make you and your parents feel better about the situation. If you have kids yourself whom your parents have been raising since birth, this is especially important because they will probably be feeling very guilty themselves and might need some reassurance that everything is okay now. Your visits needn’t be grandiose affairs; sometimes, sitting down together over lunch can make everyone feel cared for and loved again!
Invite Residents To Your Home For Holidays And Other Gatherings
It’s important to remember that your parent is a person, not just an “old person.” As such, you should treat them like any other friend or family member by inviting them to special events. For example:
- Thanksgiving dinner
- Birthday parties (including both the big ones like 50 and 65)
- Baby showers
- Your wedding day
- Your child’s birthday party (and when they graduate from preschool!)
Volunteer At The Senior Living Community
Volunteering at the senior living community can be a great way to stay connected with your parent while also giving back to the community.
- Helping out with activities. Be sure to ask what kind of volunteers are needed. If you have no experience in this area, it will be helpful if they can train you on how to assist residents with activities like crafts or games.
- Helping out with meals. Often there are plenty of opportunities for those who enjoy cooking and serving food—either as part of the dining team or preparing meals for special events such as birthdays or holidays.
- Helping out outside on grounds and building maintenance (such as painting). Many senior-friendly independent living communities also need people willing to volunteer their time doing these tasks; if this interests you, then consider taking some basic carpentry classes beforehand so you’re ready when an opportunity arises!
Show Appreciation For Caregivers And The Work They Do
As you’re sorting through all the emotions that come with helping your parent move, it’s important to remember to show appreciation for caregivers and their work. It’s also a great time to give them a gift as well.
When you’re feeling guilty about leaving your parent alone, try saying something like “I’m so thankful that you are here with Mom,” or “Thank you for taking care of Dad.” This can help break up some of the guilt associated with leaving them in someone else’s care.
These tips will help you feel more relaxed about your parent’s move into senior living. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel. It is important to know that you are not alone in this process, and it’s normal for many feelings to come up as your parent transitions into a new environment. You can always reach out for support from friends, family members or other loved ones who have gone through similar experiences themselves!