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Holidays may be right time to move Jenny Wallis | Sat, Nov 05 2011 12:00 PM

Dear Jenny,

I think it's time to move Mom into an assisted living community, she's ready now. But I was thinking about waiting until after the holidays. It makes more sense and I think the transition would be easier.

Yes, the holiday season is upon us and while it seems to make more sense to move your loved one after the holidays, waiting to move Mom or Dad can actually contribute to a negative outcome.

Preparing Mom or Dad to move means giving them support not just time to adjust. And the holidays can, at times, be the worst time of the year to delay getting Mom or Dad into their new home. Here's why.

The holidays are hectic and there is a certain amount of stress already involved. Preparing for family visits, cooking, cleaning, decorating, assuring family traditions - and this all around people's already busy schedules.

Now let's put Grandma or Grandpa into the equation. It's likely that family is helping to assure they get taken care of throughout the holidays, putting extra stress on everyone. In addition, our seniors are very likely to want to participate, but know their limitations.

But so what? What's wrong with helping them out throughout the holidays to enjoy the celebration at home and with the families? How can that be bad?

Well let's fast forward to after the holidays are over. Now what? We move Grandma right? Right. And what happens to her when she is in her new home when all the family has gone. Chances are she will feel more alone now than if she had been with us throughout the holiday season. Now add that to the stress of the move and we are really setting them up for an increased risk of depression. Also, if depression does set in during the holidays for a senior who is at home, adding the stress of a move after the holidays will likely add to their depression.

Let Mom or Dad get acclimated to their new home while the family support system is still around. They can help with the move, setting up the apartment and even share in the events in the community and meet the other residents. Mom or Dad can invite the family to their new home without the stress of hosting the party.

This way when the holidays are over the new resident, who has already built friendships in the building, has less of a reason for depression when the rest of the family leaves town. It may seem minor, but it's so much better than being in a new place when the support network of family and friends have gone.

Families should understand that when mom or dad moves into a community with an appropriate support system, especially over the holiday season, the more successful their transition can be.

If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis, community marketing director at Villa Bonita Senior Living at (619) 739-4400 or villabonitamkg2@islllc.com. Villa Bonita Senior Living is an assisted living community licensed by the California Department of Social Services, located at 3434 Bonita Road. Visit Villa Bonita online at www.villabonitaseniorliving.com.

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