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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Moving into an assisted living facility can be a difficult transition for your parents. It’s important to keep in mind that the move will be an emotional one for your parents, and you’ve got to be there to offer your support. Here are five ways that you can make the transition to assisted living a smooth one for your mom and dad:

1.Visit Together

Before your parents move to the facility, be sure to visit it together. Be sure to ask any questions that you have of the staff visit with current residents and take a look around the facility. Talk to the activities director, find out about the classes that your parents can take, and get to know their direct-care staff. Ask for your parents’ thoughts and concerns frequently throughout your visit together; doing this will show your parents that you understand the difficult time that they are facing.

2.Help Pack

Your parents are going to have a big job of packing up their possessions. An entire house will not be able to fit into an assisted living space, and things will have to be thrown away, recycled, sold, donated or given away. Don’t be surprised if you find that your parents hold tight to items that you think they could do without. Try not to fight your mother over keeping that odd receipt or fight your father over keeping that stray button. Small items can hold big memories and, at the end of the day, your parents’ unwillingness to part with certain things isn’t worth arguing over. Do your best to offer assistance without taking over.

3.Help Decorate

Don’t let your parents move into their new home and sit surrounded by boxes and blank walls. The sooner that you can help make your parents’ new apartment feel like a home, the sooner they will settle in. Unpack boxes, help hang family photos on the wall, and set out cherished knick-knacks. When your parents are surrounded by the things that they love, they’ll be more comfortable in their new surroundings

4.Keep Dates

If you’ve had a standing Sunday lunch date with your parents, continue that tradition after they’ve made their move into the facility. You don’t want your mom and dad to feel abandoned once they move into the facility. You don’t have to visit more often that you did when your parents were living in their own home, but you do have to visit just as often. Keep any standing dates that you’ve had, offer to run mom and dad to the mall for a day out, and encourage other family members and friends to visit.

5.Offer an Ear

You need to understand that your parents may go through a wide range of emotions as they make their transition. Your parents may experience sadness, depression, elation, anger and joy in alternating forms. Offer an empathetic ear and don’t condescend or patronize. People deal with change in different ways, and the transition to an assisted living facility can be the biggest change that your parents have experienced in recent years. If your parents need to talk, be there to listen.

With your help, your parents can make a positive, healthy transition to assisted living. By offering encouragement, staying positive and sticking to routines, you can help to ensure that the transition is a smooth one for your mom and dad.

Pete Shelton is a freelance writer for business blogs. At Business Guide you can find articles about business, finance, health and home improvement.

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