Careful Visits: Don’t Overdo Assisted Living Visits
Visiting Mom at Assisted Living is Great, but Don’t Overdo It in the Beginning
If your mom recently moved into assisted living or is about to, that’s a great elder care choice for her future. She may have been reluctant at first, or enthusiastic. Either way, she may have some trepidation during those initial days at this new facility.
Moving is one of the biggest stressors in life. Even for people who are excited about the move, it can cause stress and anxiety. It’s often about the unknown, not really having a clear view of what to expect that gets people bound up inside.
You may live in the same town and are excited about your mother. You understand this is a great option for her future. At the same time, though, you also recognize she may be nervous. She may be talking about this upcoming move with some regret, or what may appear to be regret.
That might lead you to stop by and visit with her every day, to call and check in on her morning, noon, and night, and even to feel guilty after she moves in.
Avoid these temptations.
The last thing you want to do is hinder your mother’s ability to become comfortable in this new living environment. That’s often what happens when family or friends stop by every day or multiple times a day. It can even happen if you’re calling her throughout the day, just to check on her.
Think about it. If you’re stopping by, what’s she going to be doing? Probably either waiting in the lobby for you to show up (if she knows when you’ll be there) or in her room waiting for a call to come down or for you to go up there.
If you call first thing in the morning, mid-morning, at noon, sometime in the afternoon, evening, and then at night, and she’s nervous or feeling homesick, what is she likely to do?
Wait around her room for your phone calls. That’s not going to allow her to get out and explore. She won’t be able to meet other people very easily if she’s constantly in her room waiting for you to visit or call.
Limit visitations and phone calls at first.
Your mother may call you crying at times, saying she misses home or just wants to get out of there. She may try to make you feel guilty, claiming that since you aren’t visiting as much as she wants that you don’t care.
You need to stand firm. Encourage her to get out and explore the facility. Tell her to go for a walk. Encourage her to sit and read a book or do a puzzle in a common area. Tell her about the movies they might be showing soon. You can find this information from the administrators.
Whatever you do, try to encourage her to at least leave her door open during the day so people can wave hello as they pass by.
Usually, it’s a matter of meeting people that helps improve one’s perspective. Once she gets to meet a few people, she’ll start to feel more at home.