Preparing for the Senior Living Lifestyle: Tips for You and Your Family

Two seniors drinking wine and eating at an outdoor dining table at a senior living community

If community living is up next for your loved one, let us be the first to welcome you into the senior living family. Senior living communities offer plenty to look forward to, including maintenance-free living, personalized support, and amenities that enhance wellness. Even better, senior living communities are the perfect place to meet a new friend and increase your loved one’s social circle. There are so many benefits on the horizon!


Even with all of the benefits in store, a move to a senior living community is a major life change. 

You might be wondering how you can serve your loved one best in order to ease the transition. Your loved one might be feeling a mix of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety, and that’s completely normal. With the right tools and strategies, you can assist in preparing your loved one for a smooth transition. Of course, your loved one is not the only one who will need to do some work to get ready for senior living. You and your family can benefit from some preparation, as well. 

Don’t worry: We’ll walk you through it.

Here’s what you can do to prepare your loved one, yourself, and your family members as senior living becomes the setting for the next chapter in your family’s story.

Preparing for Senior Living: The Older Adult

Let’s start with the main character in the next part of their story: your loved one. The biggest transition will be for them. It’s important to keep in mind that while your loved one will soon benefit from the amenities, services, and resources a senior living community can provide, the move will be full of emotions.

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Lend a sympathetic ear (or two).

If possible, encourage your loved one to talk about how they are feeling before the move. Listen without an intention to fix the emotion, but instead listen to validate it. 

Be sure you are communicating the change with your loved one’s physician as well, so they can help build excitement for the change and combat any worries about the move. Your loved one’s physician can also refer a therapist or counselor with experience in senior transitions, if needed. 

Encourage active participation in the move.

Just as it’s important to get your loved one involved in emotionally preparing for the upcoming move, it is also crucial that your loved one is empowered to play an active role in the physical preparations to the extent that is physically possible and healthy for them. Tasks like packing, organizing, and rightsizing can give your loved one autonomy over the upcoming move and help them feel excited as they prepare for what’s to come. 

Find the right strategies and support. 

Packing and organizing can seem overwhelming at first. But, with the right support and strategies, you and your loved one can tackle it efficiently and with plenty of time to celebrate their old home while looking forward to their new one. 

Here are just a few of our favorite tips that we pass along when a resident is preparing to move to a Cedarhurst community:

  • Work with vetted movers and home organizers. It is well worth the investment to take some of the labor off your shoulders. If you aren’t sure where to find a professional with experience, ask the new senior living community for referrals.
  • Take things slowly, if possible. Tackle one room at a time, and stop when your loved one is feeling exhausted or just doesn’t seem into it. Remember, it might feel like an urgent situation, but taking a day or two off packing duties can leave everyone feeling refreshed.
  • Organize items into piles or bins to keep, donate, throw away, or sell. This process keeps everything manageable as you rightsize.
  • Communicate regularly with the senior living community to take care of moving details, as well as to get a floor plan of your loved one’s new home, complete with dimensions so you can choose which furniture pieces to bring or purchase.
  • Encourage your loved one to regularly visit the community. Attending meals or events prior to their move will help them begin to make friends and experience their new lifestyle. They’ll be meeting new neighbors in no time, which can ease the transition on moving day and beyond.

Is it time to get help for you or your loved one? Take our 4-minute assessment to get more detail on the right direction for you.

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Preparing for Senior Living: The Adult Child

You will also need support as you begin to assist your loved one for their senior living transition. Be sure you’re taking care of yourself and getting the support you need so you can assist your loved one as they move to their new home.

Find a healthy outlet for processing emotions.

You might feel emotional about selling your loved one’s home as moving day approaches. Speak with your physician about the transition, as well as your therapist or counselor if you have one, so that you can work through your emotions in a supportive environment.

Ask for help when you need it.

Remember, you aren’t the only one responsible for helping your loved one prepare for their move. Ask for help from loved ones or friends. 

The more specific the ask, the better. For example, would you benefit from some extra time alone? Ask your partner to plan for you to be gone for an additional few hours over the weekend so you can get a long run in or hit the spa. The more help you receive from family members and friends, the less likely you are to experience caregiver burnout during the move preparations.

Make sure the plans and paperwork are in order. 

Next, if you are your loved one’s power of attorney, make sure you have all copies of paperwork on file in your home. This is a good time to review any wishes or directives with your loved one.

Finally, you can also begin to communicate with the senior living community to see if they have any tips for easing the transition for your loved one. If your loved one is moving to a Cedarhurst community, this is the time to coordinate your participation in the Pair to Prepare™ program

Our innovative Pair to Prepare™ program gives new residents the opportunity to invite a family member to stay with them during the first days of living there. Having a familiar face as they unpack and settle in makes for a smoother transition. Family members love it too, because they get the chance to experience maintenance-free living and the Cedarhurst lifestyle for themselves!

Preparing for Senior Living: The Extended Family

A move to senior living can be a change for the entire extended family. Prepare your extended family for the change by making sure you’re all celebrating one last event in your loved one’s home, as well as an event in your loved one’s new home.

Celebrate the old and welcome the new!

Encourage your loved one to host a family gathering to celebrate their upcoming move! During the gathering, capture family photos outside the home to frame for everyone. Once your loved one moves in, invite family members to celebrate their new home and take a photo in front of the new community. The set of photographs is a lovely gift and commemorates this exciting change.

Enjoy the senior living community perks.

Finally, be sure you experience the perks of senior living by asking about hosting family gatherings at the community. At Cedarhurst, our dining team is happy to offer the private dining room space to residents who are hosting a crowd, and they can even assist with any catering needs.

Ready to Get Started?

If you think your loved one would thrive in a senior living community, you’re probably correct. Most seniors find the additional support, as well as the easy access to wellness resources and friendly neighbors, brings them reassurance that empowers them to flourish.

Your loved one’s first step is to start learning about senior living. Download our free resource, Having the Conversation: Talking to a Parent About Senior Living, to get the tools you need to approach the subject and make your loved one an active part of the process.

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