Transitioning New Residents to Your Residential Assisted Living Home

When residents transition to your assisted living home there is a wide range of reactions, from ecstatic optimism to resentful anger. To ease the transition on either side of the scale there are a few things that you, your staff, and the family can do.

Be sure that they bring décor from their home to put in their room. This can be family photos, favorite paintings, special mementos, and preferred blanket or comforter. Surrounding a new resident with familiar objects makes the transition more comfortable and less of a jarring experience. This can also include television programs, radio, and music.

Each family has different dynamics. Your manager will have interviewed the family and navigated the intake process, and they should have a good idea of how to guide the family through the transition as well. Sometimes, it is better for the resident if the family doesn’t ‘hover’ around them as they adjust, on the other hand, the family spending extra time can ease the transition by visiting daily or even spending several full days in a row with them. Your Admin and Manager should be able to judge the situation and give the best advice.

Many residents are used to being on their own and having ‘independence,’ including their own phones. A tough transition for many is the lack of perceived personal connection with people that they are familiar with. A phone or tablet gives them the ability to call at any time, easing the feeling of ‘isolation’ that a new resident may have for the first few days. To help them adjust faster, be sure to do introductions early on and celebrate their arrival with a special meal of their favorite food and dessert, or even a cake with candles for them to blow out.

Help the families set up a regular visiting schedule and put it in a calendar. Put the calendar some place in their room where they can see it. This gives your resident reassurance, predictability, and purpose. Encourage family members to come for an activity or to come before an activity so your resident is able to transition to an activity when the family leaves. Having an activity for the resident allows for the family to make a graceful exit.

Once your resident has settled in, be aware that their loved ones may have their own adjustment challenges. Quite often the family member isn’t as needed as they once were, and this can lead to some emotional discord between the family member and your resident. Keep your eyes and your door open so you can help them through their own adjustment with a gentle and kind conversation.

These techniques are great ideas to help your staff with assisting new residents and their families in transitioning into your residential assisted living home. If you have additional ideas or suggestions, we’d love to hear about them. Send them to support@ralacademy.com and we might just post them in the ‘Tips’ section of our newsletter. Remember Do Good and Do Well!