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Making the move to assisted living can be a time of mixed emotions. If your loved one has been living in their home for a long time, it can be difficult to transition from a house filled with years of memories to a new space with new people. But the prospect of joining an inviting community can also be exciting.

There are several things to consider as you or your loved one prepares to move into an assisted living community. Mount Laurel, New Jersey, has abundant options for seniors who are looking for the perfect community, and the township provides plenty of resources for making the move as smooth as possible. Here are a few things to consider as you or your loved one prepares to transition to assisted living:

Finding the Right Community May Take Some Time

The last thing you want to do is rush into selecting an assisted living community. Though in some cases a last-minute move is unavoidable, it’s a good idea to start looking at options before a move is necessary. If you’ve determined that assisted living is the right level of care for your loved one, you’ve already started to narrow down your options. Assisted living is ideal for seniors who want to maintain a good amount of independence, while benefiting from a built-in community and assistance with managing some daily living tasks or medical conditions.

Now the goal is to find a community that offers not only the right environment and living space, but also comes with neighbors and staff who make your senior feel safe, valued, and excited to start living in their new home. There are plenty of things to consider when selecting a community, and it’s important to research the options and visit all of your top contenders. Be sure to talk with the staff and other residents, check out the activities calendar, and enjoy a meal while you’re there to make sure your loved one will have access to everything that brings them joy.

There Are Steps to Take Before Move-In

When you’ve selected a community, there are a few steps to take before move-in day. First, your loved one will most likely be assessed by a staff member, who will make sure the community understands their medical history and needs, and confirm that everyone is on the same page regarding costs and expectations. Then your senior may have the option of selecting their preferred apartment layout (if there are a variety of choices), before securing their space with a deposit.

Another big step to take before moving is downsizing and possibly selling a current home. Most people who transition from a home to an apartment will need to let go of some things. Find out what furniture and appliances the community provides in order to get an idea of which items to keep for the new space. Help your loved one decide which of their belongings continues to bring them joy and consider donating the rest. If they have a large amount of photos and memorabilia, you can also offer to digitize those to save space.

The Moving Process Doesn’t Have to Be Overly Stressful

OK, yes, moving is always going to be at least somewhat stressful, but there are ways to make the process easier for your loved one. Consider making the move in stages, which may be less hectic than doing it all at once. Offer to complete some of the more mundane tasks, such as coordinating the moving company and filing change-of-address forms.

It’s worth checking with the community staff to get a better idea of how the move-in process works. You can also ask if there are any pre-move events that your senior can attend as a way to ease into community living and introduce them to key staff members and even new neighbors or friends.

Have questions about assisted living? Download our The Complete Guide to  Assisted Living.

There Are Plenty of Ways to Make Assisted Living Feel Like Home

Along with the sentimental belongings that your loved one will bring to their new home, there are also intangible ways of making their new space feel more welcoming. When they’ve moved into their apartment, make a plan for how they will stay in touch with friends and family, whether that involves scheduling visits or setting up any technology or snail mail they can use to keep in touch with distant loved ones.

Consider sending out a note to close friends and extended family with their change of address and an invitation to come visit if they’re in the area.

Find out More About Assisted Living

If you still have questions about the transition to assisted living, there are plenty of resources available, or you can give Arbor Terrace Mount Laurel a call at 856-367-3006. For everything you need to know about assisted living care, costs, benefits, and much more, check out our “Complete Guide to Assisted Living.”

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Jackie Fix

About the Author: Jackie Fix

Jackie has been working in the field of senior living for more than 15 years. As an Executive Director for the past twelve years, Jackie has found her most important role is building a community network that provides opportunities and encourages residents to live their best lives. Ensuring the team feels engaged and equipped to provide outstanding service has led to memorable and meaningful experiences with residents, families, and friends throughout the years. Jackie is a Certified Assisted Living Administrator and a participating member of both the New Jersey Health Care Association and the Tri-County Ethics Committee. An empty-nester, Jackie also enjoys hiking, gardening, and visits with her grandchildren.