This transition is going to be difficult for your loved one. Taking a little time to yourself, and imagining what it is like for your parent or loved one, can help you make the transition so much easier. By taking the time to see it through their eyes you can make this a smooth process, not the traumatic one it could become if not managed correctly.
Here are a few factors to consider:
- The Trauma: Imagine what it would be like if you were leaving your home and familiar surroundings behind. This is not an easy move, but you know your loved one well enough to know how to make it easier for them. Think of it as a positive move, as just a change in surroundings and not a permanent break from friends and family. This may be a difficult process but you can help make it positive move rather than a traumatic one.
- The Loss Of Independence: Up until now your loved one has retained their independence and this is often something of which they are very proud. It is important to understand that, as their living arrangements change, they may no longer fee in control. Talking with them about this and showing them that they can still live a full life too and more importantly, continue enjoying it, is key to making this an easy transition. Yes, they may be losing their independence in certain ways but also gaining new independence in other ways.
- Adjustment Takes Time. Adjusting to any major change in life takes time. Your loved one may feel like this is all happening too fast and at a time when they feel resistant to it. By acknowledging their feelings and working together to make this transition as easy as possible, you’ll be helping your loved one to adjust. It can be helpful to talk with your loved one during this transition and help them understand that it is for the better. Time is a great healer and sometimes your loved one just needs additional time to adjust to their new living arrangements.
- The Denial. Your loved one may believe that the move is temporary and will be in denial for a while that they now have a new home. Once again, allowing for a bit of time and staying supportive and available throughout the transition can help. Eventually they will begin to enjoy their new surroundings. You can help them overcome the denial by talking with them about the care facility as their new home and helping them settle into their new surroundings.
- Not Settling: There may well be a period when your loved one does not seem to be settling into the care home. Sometimes, no matter how good it is or what you do to help, they just do not want to stay. Nobody has failed, it is just that what looked good on paper is not proving to be a good fit for your loved one. This is not unusual, and by having a few alternatives ready you may quickly help them to settle elsewhere. It may be that they need more time to settle in, but knowing you have a back-up choice can help immensely when moving to a care home.
- Making Their Own Space: Take a step back and imagine what you would miss most about home. Then imagine what your loved one would miss from their place. Picture the care home and see how you can furnish the room there so it is like where they now live. A good care home will allow you to decorate a resident’s room with their favorite furniture, objects and books. Even having their own bedside lamp to switch on at night can help make a big difference towards making a new room feel like home.
- Frequent Contact: Adjusting to the new home can be much easier for your loved one if they see you and other family members frequently. Visiting regularly is a great way to lessen their sense of abandonment, and help them to adjust quickly to their new surroundings. Have them show you and other family members around the facility. Do whatever you can to make them to feel part of their new home. Everyone loves seeing a familiar face come in the door, so remember that frequent contact is crucial at this time.
Understanding what it is like for a parent or loved one to move to a care facility will help everyone with the adjustment process. If you have any fears or questions, please call so we can help with the transition process and take the worry out of it for both you and your loved one.