FOR MANY OLDER ADULTS, the first and best option for living out their golden years is to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But for some, there comes a time when this strategy becomes unmanageable and it’s time to transition into an assisted living community. Moving is always difficult and it can be made especially more so by all the complex emotions and logistical challenges that often accompany a move made later in life. But there are some ways to make transitioning into an assisted living facility a little easier.
Dr. Susann Varano, a geriatrician at Maplewood Senior Living, a Westport, Connecticut–based senior living residence company, says one of the key components to making a smooth transition to an assisted living community is to start searching for the right place as early as possible. Ideally, you should be planning for and considering your options for months, even years, before you actually need to make the move. She likens the ideal transition to how we plan for college.
“Some people start a college fund when the child is born, and they start thinking about college when they’re in middle school – they consider which high school to go to that will lead to a good college and ultimately lead to a good law school or medical school.” She asks why Americans seem so reluctant to give the same sort of care and attention to what probably should be viewed as an equally important life transition. “These are the final years of your life. Why shouldn’t they be the quality you deserve? You worked hard for your money, and this is your money. Give it the respect that it deserves and don’t be so afraid that just because you’re looking (at moving) means you’re going to go.”