When you move your elderly parent into an assisted elderly living home, you want to feel that he or she will maintain a high degree of independence from you. While the home's staff members can contribute to making your parent's life easier in a number of different ways, your parent will largely be left to his or her own devices. During this transition, you want to ensure that you don't hinder this independence. Doing so may make the transition into the new living quarters more challenging, which is the last thing that you want for your loved one. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help your parent be independent.
Don't Visit Too Often
If you visit your parent regularly, he or she will come to depend on your company. This may cause your parent to fail to socialize with other residents, which can be a problem. You can foster your parent's independence by visiting only occasionally. There's no universally acceptable frequency, so you'll have to find out what works for you. For example, you might feel that visiting once a week is adequate. Your parent will look forward to these visits, but use the rest of the week to act independently.
Encourage Interaction With Staff
Make sure that you help your elderly parent to meet and greet the assisted living home's various staff members upon moving in. This way, a bond can quickly be built, which will help your parent to avoid being dependent on you. For example, if your parent is dependent, any issue that he or she experiences in the new living quarters may result in a phone call to you — and you'll have to deal with things. When you make sure that your parent is acquainted with the staff members, he or she will consult the staff upon dealing with any issues.
Celebrate Independent Actions
When you speak to your parent on the phone, ask what he or she has been up to. When your parent tells you about independent actions, whether he or she has gone to lunch with a few friends, joined a walking group, or done something else without consulting you, celebrate this independence. Your goal through these interactions isn't to make your parent feel that you aren't interested in helping him or her, but the more he or she acts in an independent manner, the more enjoyment can be gleaned from living in the assisted living home.