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It happens to many of us. We realize it’s time for the older person in our lives to move from their current home into senior living, but we still have mixed feelings about it.

You could be excited that they won’t have to worry about daily cleaning anymore. You might be happy that they’ll be surrounded by new friends and neighbors. But at the same time you may also find yourself feeling stressed by trying to find the perfect new home or worried about the feelings a move will bring up for everyone.

From experience, we know the importance – for you and the older people in your life – to focus on the positive. Below are a few ideas you can use to replace any negative feelings with happier thoughts.

Anticipate the Move

The first step in dealing with guilt about moving the older people in your life to a new home is simply to be prepared for the possibility. Knowing the signs of when it’s time to move can make it easier to accept the reality and start talking to them about the transition.

Once you’ve realized it’s time to move, involve the older people in your life in the process as much as possible. If up to it, they should make the ultimate decision. You can help along the way by asking their thoughts about a new home, visiting different communities with them and thinking of questions to ask on the tour. Bringing up the idea of a move –– and the kinds of things they can look forward to –– each time you see them will help make it easier on everyone when the time comes to find a new home.

Be kind to yourself and your family

People thrive in our communities every day. It’s not about you. It’s about helping your mom or dad (or both), aunt, uncle or even a trusted friend find their best life in a community filled with independent older adults.

It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that letting the older people in your life age in place typically does not promote the independence they think they are losing. Instead, staying at home can be lonely. And, we know that loneliness has been proven to cause decline in health. Remind yourself that a safe, supportive and engaging environment where they can thrive is truly the best option.

Everyone can live their best life

Focus on the positive aspects of this next step. If you believe that other people are questioning your decision, remember that everyone’s life is different. If you’ve been entrusted to help the older people in your life make the decision to stay or move, trust yourself! You know best what they need.

Once you find an independent senior living community that’s a good fit and the decision has been made to move in, you can help them get settled in by truly making their space their home. Personalize their suite with photos and furniture from their former residence. Support their involvement in community activities. And show up. Create a plan for how often you’ll visit and call to make the transition easier. When everyone is reassured and confident they’ve made the right decision, everyone will be happier.

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