Feeling at “Home”
When looking for a new place to move your parent, you may feel anxious in trying to find a place where they will feel at home. If you do live in a different city, you may want to move them closer to you but you may also feel bad about taking them out of a community that they’ve grown accustomed to. All of these feelings are normal and can be expected. However, there are a few things you can do to help your parent feel at home in their new residence.
You may feel that they will not feel at home if you move them closer to you, however, the research proves the opposite. The research showed that “the greater attachment to town or community, the less likely one is to become at home in assisted living.” This signifies that they will feel more at home in a new city where they can have a “fresh start” and bond with those around them in the community around them. “One possible explanation for this result is that those with longer tenure in a town or community may be caught between competing worlds—that of the community outside the residence and that within the residence. Those older persons reside primarily in one world (the residence), but they feel more connected to the wider community at large.” Not to say that a person cannot live where they have lived for many years, they may just feel a longing to have their “old” life back, in a sense.
Another important aspect of having your parent feel at home in their new residence is their involvement in the residence’s activities. They found that “involvement in activities inside the residence and to a lesser degree in the community work to shape one’s perception of place.” This would argue that the activities in the residence are a vital component of helping the resident like where they are living. “Furthermore, assisted living activities and community activities have a direct and positive relationship to assisted living residence as home.” Participating in the building’s activities will help your parent form relationships, help them develop that community feel, and will give them something to look forward to each day.
Imagine you move to a new place with new people. You interact with people for one day and then not again. A month later, do you think you would feel like that town is your new home? Of course not! Just like you, your parent will need ongoing interactions with people while doing activities to help them feel at home in their new residence. In the research article, they proposed “that individual meaning arises in the context of social transactions, and such transactions have to be ongoing for the establishment of at-homeness in a new setting such as an assisted living residence.” To help your parent feel welcomed and more at home, encourage them to participate in the residence’s activities and to make new friends.
At The Gables of Ammon, we believe we are great at helping new residents feel at home. Our amazing Activities Director will reach out to them and personally invite them and help them get to activities. At those activities they will be able to bond and laugh with those around them, cultivating memories, and building a new home. We are also close enough to other cities where your parent will feel like they are in a new city, without needing to be far away from their family. We take pride that our residents choose our facility to “age in place” in and we try our hardest to help them love the people they meet here, their caregivers, and the activities that they do during the day. Our smaller facility is also conducive to helping them feel “at home” rather than feeling like they are checking into a hotel. Come in and take a tour and find out if the Gables is a great fit for you and your parent(s)!
Source: Cutchin, M. P., Owen, S. V., & Chang, P. J. (2003, July 01). Becoming. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/58/4/S234/523354/Becoming-at-Home-in-Assisted-Living-Residences#8176934