It can take a lot of courage for both you and elderly loved ones to make the move into an assisted living facility. In the initial days, it is very natural that there could be problems of adjustment. You should spend some time to encourage him to talk about it, so that you can understand the concern and attempt to have it resolved. Rather than approaching the entire issue in an uninformed way, it is better to know in advance the nature of common problems so that you can move swiftly to address it. Some typical examples of problems faced by assisted living residents:
Not Being Able To Adjust To the New Living Style
In the initial period after taking up residence in the assisted living home, the environment can prove to be pretty challenging, especially if the person has never really lived in a community environment. Every small discomfort can assume alarming proportions, especially if the move has been against his will in the first place. The best way to deal with this is to give him a patient hearing, explain that the feeling of discomfort is natural, and encourage him to try out new things like a group activity or an in-house club. Help him to focus on the positive attributes of the new environment and you will see that with time what had seemed to be major irritants have shrunk in importance and the benefits of companionship and community living become more obvious.
Not Comfortable With another Resident
When the elder has been living alone or with just the spouse for a considerable time, it is natural that he will be set in his attitude about a number of things and the presence of group members could sometimes lead to friction and misunderstanding. Encourage your loved one to discuss the problem and how a solution may be arrived at. Often, as a new Houston assisted living resident, he may not even be aware of the procedure in the facility to resolve the problem. Take the facility’s staff into confidence and arrange for an extra effort by all concerned to put him at ease and reduce the cause of the discomfort.
As the person may have been living independently, he may have become set in his ways and refuse to interact with other members of the community. Under such circumstances, it is natural that time may weigh heavily on his hands and he may be completely bored even though most good facilities have a whole host of activities planned for the residents to participate in. If your family member complains of boredom find out how he has been spending his time. If due to shyness, he has not been participating in group activities, try and take him along to one such activity with you and get him introduced to other members and break the ice, so to speak. Discuss with the authorities of the home, if he can continue to visit a social club that he had been habituated going to earlier.
Abuse by a Fellow Resident
With so many different types of people living in the same community, it can always happen that your loved one is at the receiving end of aggressive behavior of another member. In fact, there are many psychological and medical conditions that can lead to aggression and conflicts getting out of control. In case this has happened more than once, it helps to know what has exactly happened by asking both your family member as well as the facility staff. In case the situation persists, you should alert the staff and ensure that appropriate action is taken, and monitor the situation till it is evident that the problem is no more.
Living in an assisted living community is a huge challenge to a new resident as he must not only adjust quickly to a new physical environment but also to the administration and fellow residents. With his usual lifestyle under so much pressure, it is not unusual for the resident to face more than a few problems. However, with a little time, understanding, and guidance, it is normal to find your loved one to have settled into a healthy routine and begin to actually enjoy the companionship of residents of the same age.
Graham Dickinson is the senior sales manager of a premium Houston assisted living facility. He makes it a point to explain what assisted living really entails to prospective residents and their families and also discusses potential problems that can arise and how they can be resolved.