Senior Housing: Three Discussion Tips to Help Families Prepare for Move-In

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Transitioning a loved one to senior housing is a difficult time for families. To ease anxiety and help make a new resident feel immediately comfortable — physically and emotionally — the direct-care team should meet with a new resident’s family before move-in. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know the resident, explain how to design a room for maximum safety and comfort, and share examples of an optimal living space.

The following Three Conversation Tips will help guide this important discussion, so family members know what to expect ahead of time and communities can provide an environment tailored to the resident’s needs. 

1. My Favorite Things: Understand a Resident’s Habits and Routines: It’s important to understand a resident’s personal story, daily routines, interests as well as likes and dislikes. Ask a resident’s family about their sleeping schedule, preferred foods and clothing as well as favorite TV shows. Even knowing when they like to shower – morning or evening – and if they sleep with a light on will help a resident feel calmer and settled in their new environment. 

2. Create a Safe Living Space with Less is More Approach: Invite family members to visit the resident’s room before move-in to discuss mobility status and underscore the less is more approach to designing a safe living space. Discuss bed, dresser, bedside table and lamp needed in the room as well as personal items to create a cozy atmosphere.

3. Share Examples of a Well-Designed Bedroom: Since memory care bedrooms are limited on space, share exact room dimensions and examples of good floor plans with family members. Discuss optimal furniture size and positioning, such as putting a bed flush against the wall, so families know what to bring and what to leave behind. 

For a more detailed guide featuring sample resident room floor plans comparing ambulatory and mobility aid variations of the layouts, check out the easy-to-use, downloadable resource, Three Conversation Tips, for direct-care staff to use when talking with families. For more information about reducing falls in your community, contact [email protected].

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