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Transitioning To Assisted Living: Preparing For Your Parent’s Move

Transitioning To Assisted Living: Preparing For Your Parent’s Move

After observing signs that your parent is in need of extra help it has been decided that assisted living would be the best option. Whether this means a parent is moving from independent living or from their home, there’s lots of emotion at play, and plenty of logistics to tackle.

In order for a parent to thrive during and after a transition to assisted living, there are a few considerations to make. The first decision will be around picking an assisted living community. Let’s look at ways to ensure a community is the right fit.

Finding the Right Assisted Living Community

Each senior has unique needs and every senior living community is different. Planning enough time to research and visit multiple communities can ensure a better long-term fit. Before setting up tours:

Draft a List of Care Needs:

Consider not only what services are needed today, but what might be needed in the future. If your parent suffers from a condition such as dementia or Parkinson’s it will be important to look for a community with specialized staff.

Form A Budget

The cost of care can fluctuate greatly depending on service and amenities. Some assisted living communities offers packages that include food, housekeeping and other services that could be add on fees in other communities. Always be certain what you are paying for. What might first appear to be savings could become add on fees in the future. Establishing needs versus wants and detailing the cost at each community to include these will help in deciding the best use of budget.

Pick a Location

Your parent might already live in a senior friendly city where assisted living options are plentiful, or perhaps a further move is required. The most important factor in location is ensuring your parent will be comfortable, able to thrive and partake in a community, and receive visitors.

Research and Form a List of Communities

Knowing your parent’s needs, a location, or locations, and a rough budget, will allow you to form a short list of communities to tour. In this initial phase, listing out services and amenities, or pros and cons can help whittle-down options and ensure quality visits and more in depth follow-ups.

You will also want to look into resident testimonials, business reviews, and social media to get a view inside life at each community.

Schedule Tours and Follow Up

Nothing beats a visit to see a community first hand. Before heading to a tour, have a checklist ready to keep you on track and offer a foundation for comparing locations. For the initial tours, it’s best to go without your parent. Having them join in the beginning can be overwhelming. To prevent added anxiety, wait until you have narrowed down the choices to 2 or 3. This will allow your parent choice without being overwhelmed with options. Ultimately this should allow an easier decision.  After each visit you will want to discuss the pros and cons after as well as any new questions, following up with the community to get the answers needed to make a decision.

How to Prepare for the Transition to Assisted Living?

With a community selected, it’s now time to think about what needs to be done before your parent moves. Having a moving checklist can ease being overwhelmed and set a clear path forward. Here are a few common tasks to make the list:


If your parents are currently living in a home they will not be able to bring all of their belongings with them. Going through everything and deciding the most important things to keep while parting ways with other items takes time. It can also be very emotional, so leave adequate time and be diligent and compassionate trying to accommodate as much as possible.

Change of Address

With the move comes a new address. You will want to let the post office know of the change of address at least 30 days prior to the date of the move. All health providers, banks, cell phone providers and organizations your parent engages with will need to be notified. Provide family members with the new address so they can anticipate sending mail within the first few months of your parent moving.

Canceling Recurring Bills/Utilities

Some phone and internet providers allow transfer of service, but in cases where a service will no longer be available or used, a cancellation request must be placed.

Schedule Movers

The big move will require some readily available hands. Whether you plan on contracting private movers, or have family and friends who are able to help, mark the date on everyone’s calendar.

Reach out to The Community Director

During your tour you likely asked about activities. Before your parent moves it’s good to check in with an activity or community director to see what activities your parent may be interested in and begin to build a calendar. Having events to look forward to and an idea of what their day to day will look like goes a long way in providing something for your parent to look forward to. It can also help to get familiar with who will be your parent’s neighbor and possibly making introductions beforehand.

What to Do During the Move

With most of the logistics squared away ahead of the move, it’s important to spend time before and during the move celebrating the new start. Planning an arrival party, shopping for new home items, and speaking positively about the community in lead up can make the transition much smoother.

On the day of the move, and during the process of settling in, have someone take your parent out for lunch and for the day. This will allow time to set up your parents room to look and feel like home. Have their prized personal belongings front and center, and add as much personal touch as possible. When they arrive to their new home tell them how nice everything looks and take the time to enjoy the space with them, celebrating this big event in their life.

After the Move

While your parent is getting acclimated to an assisted living community, it is important to be available for support, but not overbearing, and too readily present. Visiting too frequently can prevent your parent from branching out and becoming an active community member so consider calling to catch up or visiting only a few times during the first month.

It’s important to recognize that your parent’s transition into their community takes time. Be patient as most experts suggest it takes three to six months for seniors to adjust to assisted living.

When visiting with your parent make sure to listen closely as they might hint at things they are lacking. Having conversations with staff and advocating for your parent no matter how small an ask, can go a long way in enhancing their experience. Most times staff are simply not aware and are happy to make a change to enhance your parents experience.

Looking For an Assisted Living Community in Nashville?

For over 25 years Blakeford has been a leading nonprofit provider of quality senior lifestyle solutions. The newly renovated Green Hills campus offers assisted living accommodations in a homelike setting where residents receive essential services as well as a wide variety of social, informational, and wellness activities. Blakeford has also expanded services with a brand new secure memory care neighborhood.

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