Choosing the right time to move into an Adult Family Home in Bothell, Washington

Moving home at any age comes with challenges

At any age, moving home is challenging. Even an infant knows something is going on when a change of domicile is made. And if you want to irritate a toddler – who on Earth would do that willingly! - all you have to do is move the furniture around and their universe is disturbed once again. Next minute they are crying, and they have to reorient themselves all over again.

Children of military families also speak of the unsettling nature of a move from one base to another. In some cases, they move to yet another foreign country. While they do make friends in each place, moving from, for example, Ramsteim Germany to Qatar in the Middle East means for the kids that all their friends are gone from one day to the next .With the Internet and social media, many friendships can be maintained a little, but there is no denying the emotional effects of the physical move itself. As military kids grow into adults, many speak of the fleeting – no pun intended – nature of childhood friendships, and the isolation of the bases. In later life, they can have a certain hankering for security that others take for granted.

As I have aged, I have found each successive move to be more difficult than the last. Part of it is because I have more “things”, you could say, but most of the feeling is of having to reorient myself to the small things all over again. It took me a number of years to find my routine in my current apartment. The sofa is now in an ideal place, the shampoo bottle is perched in a particular spot in the shower, and everything from light switch location to my favorite spoon is exactly where I want it, and my whole routine is borne of habit and familiarity.

When a senior moves into a new home – and Adult Family Home in this case – many, many things change for them. They are, from one day to the next, living with a whole now set of people. Both the co-residents around them and their new care givers and all more or less completely new to them. What if one of the residents is difficult? What if the smells in the new place are just unpleasant for some reason. (I have found myself becoming more sensitive to smells, the older I’ve gotten). It’s harder to adjust to a new environment, and harder the older we get.

Food is another thing that can change when you make a move. If you’re moving a few blocks away, and you can still buy your own groceries in exactly the same supermarket, then your diet will likely remain the same. For a senior moving into an Adult Family Home, food is going to be a big consideration, and I’ll talk about that a little further down the page.

Making a Big Deal of the Big Day

We often forget, with our hectic lifestyles, and especially when we are still in the process of rearing young children, that our aging parents need care, too. Because they were our very own parents, they are often reluctant to ask for help. Well, not all parents behave in such a passive way, but many do. You must reach out to them and they should be deeply involved in the decision making around the move into an Adult Family Home.

Prepare for the Big Day by clearing the day’s schedule of anything else. Don’t choose the same day your daughter is going to Chuck E. Cheese for her birthday celebration. I remember when I own daughter went to a ballet school for her entire youth, the Artistic Director always scheduled the last, big performance of the year on Father’s Day. Perhaps it was the only Sunday she could get for that particular school concert hall, but for so much of the year, with all the driving back and forth to ballet lessons and performances, you would think that one day could have been left to all the fathers of the dance students. Anyway, it’s right and proper to dedicate the Big Day entirely to the move. This will take a lot of pressure off everyone and give your aging parent the focus they deserve.

Dress your children up, and let them know this is an important day. When I was a preteen, my parents used to occasionally take me to meet my grandaunt in a nursing home. She did seem to be there for many, many years – it may have only been several, though – and I thought the home was the creepiest place I’d every been to. We would take photographs, and I remember the delighted look on my grandaunt’s face and, indeed, on the faces of many of the residents. Each such visit meant a lot to my grandaunt, and when I look back at it now, it galvanized my own personal memories of the relationship with that generation. And so, the move of your own parent into an Adult Family Home is an important milestone for your own children, too. They might complain about having to go, but it will meant more to them later in life.

Prepare gifts well ahead of time. One of the best types of gifts you can get for your parent moving into an Adult Family Home is a framed family photograph. They will be taking only a fraction of their belongings, very likely anyway, into the Adult Family Home with them, but an excellent, full family photograph of the family – including them, of course – can be a gift that really does keep on giving.

Get your kids involved in the move by helping them choose gifts for grandpa/grandma. Let them understand the Big Move is about their grandparent, not about them, as most that goes on in a family is. That’s why I recommend you do not also give the kids gifts on this occasion. There will be plenty of tie for that at some other event in the future.

Making the new diet work at an Adult Family Home

Food is one of those subtle aspects of an older person’s life that can have huge significance. Aside from the clear fact that “we are what we eat”, there is an emotional side to food that is often overlooked. Speaking personally, I can see how my own faculties are weakening as I age. My hearing, my eyesight, and almost everything else has taken a hit over the decades, but I have to say, I enjoy food perhaps more than ever. A great meal or even a snack can be a real pleasure. You don’t need to hear it, or even see it completely, but a great breakfast is always a pleasure.

Work with the care givers at the new Adult Family Home to get a great food schedule for your parent. It will increase their quality of life, and make the move far, far easier on everyone.

See you next week!

Image by Tim Mossholder