Ways to Help Your Aging Parent Still Feel Independent, Even When Transitioning to Assisted Living

Making a move to assisted living can feel frightening. For many seniors, especially those who have misconceptions about what assisted living is, it can feel like the end of their life. It can feel as though they’re losing independence and autonomy.

Making the transition from living independently to assisted living doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are ways you can help your aging loved one feel independent, even though they are moving to a facility with staff that can support them in their time of need.


Make sure the assisted living community supports true independence.

Assisted Living Pascagoula, AL: Independence

Assisted Living Pascagoula, AL: Independence

There may be certain facilities out there that are advertised as assisted living, but that don’t encourage true independence among their residents. That doesn’t mean they are deceptive, but when you begin doing everything for another individual, they actually become more dependent on you or that facility.

There are many ways a quality assisted living community can encourage independence while also offering the level of care and support the senior requires.

If your aging loved one has had an incident where they slipped in the bathroom, for example, make sure the assisted living community has grab bars, nonslip floor surfaces, and is engineered to keep seniors safe when going to the bathroom or taking a shower.

You don’t want your loved one to have everything mapped out for their day, but rather to have time to figure out what they want to do each and every day. Yes, activities are important, but if the facility determines what all of the residents will do each hour of the day, that’s not really independent living.


Encourage them to feel useful.

When your aging loved one moves into an assisted living facility, they can feel helpless. When you talk to them or visit, find out what they did, where they went, and what they discovered that day.

Encourage him or her to get out and meet other residents. The more people they meet, the more they begin to realize there are other seniors who might need some support along the way. It might not involve anything physical, but just emotional support, like playing games or having conversations.

If you can encourage them to be useful to other people, they will feel a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. For someone without a sense of purpose or meaning in life, every day feels pointless.


Make sure they are involved in their care.

Whether it’s choosing an assisted living community or some other type of elder care, it should be the senior’s choice, not yours or somebody else’s. When the senior gets the right to choose where they live or how they live, that’s going to help them naturally feel more independent.

Too often, though, adult children or a spouse think they know what’s best so they force their will on that elderly person. At some point in time, seniors tend to give up pushing back. Don’t let it reach that point. Instead, make sure they are fully involved in determining what type of elder care they receive.

If you or an aging loved one are considering a move to an Assisted Living in Pascagoula, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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