Change is a constant in life. And if you’ve been providing care for a loved one who is now moving into an assisted living or memory care community, you may wonder what your new role will be.

Much consideration is given to helping older adults make this transition, but family members may feel a little lost. Caregiving was likely a significant part of their day and they can be uncertain how to redefine their new connection.

While no longer being responsible for the day-to-day tasks, it’s important to remember that it’s now possible to return to the previous role of spouse, son or daughter and recreate the relationships once enjoyed.

10 tips for how to transition from caregiver to advocate

Preparing for this shift in roles will help smooth the transition. The following suggestions offer guidance:

1. Understand the role shift: Plan for the change in responsibilities and time commitment now that the community will handle the daily hands-on care. Consider activities you can share with your loved one but also how you might now spend time on personal interests or passions.

2. Educate yourself: Learn about the services and care provided by assisted living or memory care communities. Visit communities first-hand and come prepared with questions to ask so you clearly understand what is available and what daily life will be like for your loved one.

3. Learn how to advocate: Your role will now be overseeing or managing care and your voice can be powerful. Get to know the care team and establish a clear line of communication with them. Regular updates can help you stay informed and involved in the decision-making process.

4. Maintain emotional connections: Make time for regular visits with your loved one to maintain a sense of familiarity and comfort while also monitoring their care and adjustment to the move. Participating in activities offered by the community can be a great way to be involved – and fun as well.

5. Build a relationship with the care team: Take the time to get to know the caregivers, nurses and other staff members. You can build rapport by understanding their roles. Letting them know your appreciation can promote a deeper connection. If concerns arise, always address them respectfully and constructively with the team.

Download our complimentary Memory Care Guide.

6. Support your loved one’s independence: Ensure those who may fear a loss of independence that they’ll maintain their sense of autonomy and dignity and that their decisions will be respected. Encourage participation in activities and getting to know the other residents, which promotes independence and social engagement.

7. Acknowledge feelings of guilt or anxiety: It’s not uncommon for family members to regret not being able to continue as caregivers. However, it’s important to recognize the care offered by a community most likely exceeds what can be provided at home. Consider joining a support group or talking to a professional about continued feelings of guilt, if needed.

8. Advantages of senior living communities: Remember – having access to 24/7 professional care tailored to their specific health and wellness needs, opportunities to socialize with others and live in a community designed with the safety and security of residents in mind – supports a high quality of life and provides peace of mind for the individuals and their families.

9. Stay involved in the care: You will want to actively participate in care planning meetings and contribute your insights about your loved one’s preferences and history. You know your loved one better than anyone. Stay observant of any changes noticed in health or behavior and communicate these to the care team.

10. Transition with empathy and patience: Adjustments take time. Be sympathetic to the emotional and physical challenges of making this transition. It also takes time for the staff and residents to settle in comfortably with new routines. You’ll also be transitioning to a home life that no longer involves the 24-hour attention of caregiving.

One more piece of advice: approach the transition from a positive point of view

It’s essential to recognize that a loved one moving into an assisted living or memory care community doesn’t diminish your role in their life; it simply transforms it. Your role will now be as a supportive advocate instead of the day-to-day caregiver but you will still be a partner in the journey.

Senior living communities can offer care and services that will support your loved one to live an enriched life. You will still play an active role but now you’ll be able to spend more quality time sharing – and enjoying – this adventure with them.

The Charleston Senior Living Community

Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.

The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support everyone to live their best life.

Consider a few of our amenities:

  • Chef-led dining program
  • Community movie theater
  • Salon
  • Ballroom
  • Live entertainment
  • Outdoor patio
  • Social lounges
  • Housekeeping

If you or your family is thinking about Assisted living or Memory care, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions, contact us today.

We also invite you to download our complimentary Memory Care Guide to learn more about this type of senior living.

Guide to memory care