Adjusting to a New Environment Adjusting to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility can be a difficult transition.

Adjusting to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility can be a difficult transition.

Fears and old stigmas enter, and that can wreak havoc on the psycho-social well-being of a person, and their loves ones! It is a change for everyone involved and it’s important to have support network. This is especially true for those living with dementia.

Transition periods will look different for each individual. As a family member, be open and honest in your communication with the facility. Let the community know your concerns ahead of time, and what factors might contribute to a successful transition.

Has your mother always been afraid of entering a nursing home because she has a preconceived notion based on the past? Tell the staff. Talk with your mother. Show her that there is care surrounding her. Introduce yourself, introduce her.

The staff in a community can be your greatest ally in making sure your loved one is comfortable in their new environment. Go together to see the dining room or attend an activity if they likes to be around people. Maybe they needs a few minutes in their new room to settle in quietly. Bring in things that are familiar and comforting – framed photos of family members, her favorite quilt for her bed. Encourage the staff to get to know your loved one, but also help them become well known. Tell them right away if your loved has any favorite foods or drinks, so that staff can help make sure your loved one feel welcomed by offering a cup of coffee just the way they likes it.

Adjustment isn’t just difficult for someone coming in for long term place, but also a rehab short term can be overwhelming and intimidating. Encourage your loved one to voice expectations and hopes for their stay. By opening up the lines of communication ahead of time with both staff and your loved one many complications can be mitigated in the long run, and this can make for a peaceful transition into a new environment.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Sarah Elliott, MA Gerontology, Transitions Care Coordinator with VIVAGE Senior Living and may be reached at 303-238-3838 or by email at