Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Relocating A Loved One
Often times people have a great deal of expectations when moving a loved one to assisted Living. Families frequently expect an immediate fix and adjustment. There is always, however an individual period of adjustment for every person when having their home, life style, and routine changed. This is a major life event. They need time to adjust, take things in, adjust, grieve a bit, cope and then move forward.
Several steps are recommended to ease the transition and help the adjustment:
1. Allow your family member to have as much input and control as possible. Help to guide them and support them in moving forward in positive way.
2. Ask about how they would like their new apartment set up. Many individuals with cognitive impairments benefit and find comfort from a set up similar to at home. Having visual cues for comfort eases the transition and helps them to feel at ease. It is also nice to have other sensory areas involved. Music can set the one and provide comfort. I have even prepared sensory stimulation kits for bathing that incorporate items of comfort and soothing smells.
Now some individuals surprisingly want a change! I had a recent client that told me not to move any of her things! She wanted something new, bright and fresh! I assisted her in decorating her apartment in modern furniture and bright colors...she was absolutely thrilled! So take the cues fro your loved one and then guide and support!
3. Carefully plan their transition. Be upfront with the assessment nurse on their care needs. This will allow the facility to plan properly and care well for your loved one. Sometimes people do not want to admit limitations which leads to injury and a poor transition. Work with the facility staff or a care manger to plan out their first day! This is very important. You want their first impressions to be positive as this will carry them forward and help them to settle in. Trying to arrange for a favorite meal, coming on a day that they are having an activity that they love or a music program, or even arranging for a beauty shop visit the first day may sound trivial, but can truly be beneficial!
4. Try to arrange for a few visits prior to moving in. Have your loved one come to a program, go on an outing, or have lunch at the facility prior to making a decision for moving forward. Allow them to be an active part of the process; introduce them to other residents and help them to start forming relationships early. It is beneficial for families and individuals to really see if the community is going to be the right fit for them. Visits also helps t reduce anxiety over the move and it always helps to have some familiar and friendly faces upon arrival on their move in day!
Although nothing is ever going to be perfect or without slight hiccups, planning properly can make a move to a new home positive, pleasant and easier for all! If you need relocation assistance for a loved one contact a care manager. We can assist in every aspect including making recommendations for appropriate facilities, arranging visits, coordinating movers, estate sale companies, junk removal, apartment set up, and more.
Care managers take the stress out of planning and relocation! We help family members and individuals to focus on the positives and move forward with ease!