In life, we’re faced with many difficult decisions. Sometimes, we have to accept that the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. It’s no secret that having a support system in place can help people cope with challenges, which is why supporting your friend through the transition of moving their spouse to an assisted living community is so vital.
As a friend or family member of someone who’s made the decision to move their partner into an assisted living community, you may think that this will be a huge weight off of the caregiver’s shoulders and that they’ll feel relieved. You may assume that their stress will be mitigated and that they’ll have more freedom for other things that they enjoy. While these things may be true, this life-changing decision can cause a new host of challenges to arise.
Challenges They May Face
For many, this is the first time your friend or family member will be living separately from their spouse. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, guilt, and depression. These feelings are completely normal, but if left unchecked, they can have detrimental consequences on your friend’s overall wellbeing.
Why It’s Important
If you’ve got a friend or family member in the above situation, socializing with them can help them cope with the feelings they may be experiencing. Companionship is a vital component to health, and having an active social life can have many health benefits, such as:
- Improved mental and emotional health
- More confidence and self-esteem
- Boosted immune system
- Improved mental state and sharper thinking facilities
- Increased sense of purpose
Now that your loved one is facing a new change in their life, spending quality time with them will remind them how much you care about them, and their spouse who’s had to move into an assisted living community.
How You Can Help
If you’re struggling to decide on how to help, try out some of these ideas! Remember that your loved one will appreciate any effort you show in reminding them how much they mean to you.
Open up About Your Experience
If you have gone through a similar situation yourself, ask them if they’d like to hear your experience. It may make them feel less isolated.
Involve Them in Social Activities
Invite them out for dinner, to a movie, or just to your home for some quality time together! Socializing doesn’t have to be expensive, and as long as you’re present during your time together, any idea will work.
Offer to Cook for Them
Offer to make them a meal, or just surprise them with it! Sharing food together can help relieve them of loneliness since most families eat at least one meal together during the day.
Join Them While They Visit Their Partner
Being there with your friend or family member when they make visits to their partner’s community can give them the moral support they need. Offer to drive them there, or plan a day around making the visit together.
Encourage Them to Take Care of Themselves
A caregiver is oftentimes used to putting others before themselves. Now that they have more freedom, encouraging them to take some time for themselves can be exactly what they need to boost their mood. Make shared plans like exercising together, planning a spa day, or simply getting outside and enjoying the fresh air. These small self-care tips can have a big impact.
Suggest Other Forms Of Companionship
The best help for your loved one may simply be that they have another reason to get up and enjoy their day. Buy them a plant to take care of, or suggest that they volunteer at an animal shelter or foster a pet. Depending on each individual’s situation, having another living being in the home can help ease the empty feeling they may be experiencing.
Even though it might not be instantly apparent, remember that your efforts to help your friend through these difficult changes will not go unnoticed. Keeping them in mind will show that you’re still thinking of them and their spouse, and that they’re not alone through the transition. For more information on how we can support you and your loved one through these changes, give us a call to ask about our wide range of services at (804) 250-5740.