Big changes can be hard or scary for people of any age. Even if you're excited about the change, there's a little bit of unknown that comes along, and that's true of moving into an assisted living community. You may have done the research, spent time visiting your community of choice and planned out many of the steps. But that doesn't let you see into the future with a crystal ball to know exactly how the change will go down.
One way to put those nerves into action and add a little more guidance to the change is to create a vision board. You can create one for just the move or one for your entire first year in assisted living.
A vision board is a visual representation of your goals, hopes or anything else you want to put up. It can be something simple, like a few pictures pinned to a bulletin board. Or, if you're a crafter, it might be something like a larger scrapbook page. You can also create a vision board on the computer and have a digital copy.
Vision boards are fun. They let you take a deeper dive into the hopes you have for something in the future, which can help you dwell more on the positives of a change than on what you're worried about. Here are some other reasons you might want to make one:
• It helps you motivate yourself. Putting the vision board together can help move you from thoughts and plans into some action. And some action can often morph into more action. Then, once you have the vision board, you can place it in a location where you see it regularly to continue to motivate yourself.
• A vision board helps you prioritize goals. No matter how you make your board, the space isn't unlimited. That means you will have to pick a few things to put on it, forcing you to prioritize. Since you can't do everything at once, paring down some of the most important hopes for the next year can make it more likely you'll find ways to make those things happen.
• Keeping the board reminds you of your goals. Your vision board also reminds you of those goals throughout the year. If you get to a point where you need to make more decisions or you simply feel tired and need a pick-me-up, you can turn to the board for some guidance or inspiration.
• It helps you push past false limitations. Everyone has real limitations. We're all human, after all. But sometimes we set false limitations for ourselves that can make it harder to step into and make the best of change. A vision board gives you a chance to dream without those fears. And once you set the dreams down in visuals, you may be more likely to ignore or push past the false limitations to achieve your goals.
There aren't really rules for vision boarding, but here are some steps to consider if you want to make one for your first year in assisted living.
1. Start with brainstorming. Make a list of all the reasons you have for moving into assisted living. Include things you want to do or positive benefits you want to achieve.
2. Pick some of the most important to you. Choose some items to put up on your vision board for the first year. Five is a good number to start with. You might, for example, pick:
a. Better attend to your health.
b. Have time to do more things you enjoy.
c. Make new friends.
d. Learn something new.
e. Enhance your relationship with loved ones.
3. Break down the five areas into smaller goals, actions or ideas. For example, better attending to your health might include eating right, getting more exercise and engaging in self-care to keep stress lower.
4. Use those breakdowns to guide you in finding images for your vision board. You can draw or paint, cut items out of magazines or other print materials, find images online or use stickers. Fabrics, items you find in nature or photographs you take can work too—get creative.
5. Arrange the items on a background in a way that you like. You can use poster board, a bulletin board, an actual wooden board or anything else. Glue, tape, tie or nail the items on.
6. Hang your vision board up. Hang the board up in a place you'll see it regularly so you can return to the dreams and hopes you had at the beginning of the year whenever you need to.
Vision boarding is a personal project, but share it with others if you want. They might help you make the board or encourage you as you work on making those visions reality during your first year in an assisted living community. If you move into one of the communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella, let the staff know about your vision board and what it means so they can support you too!