Making the decision to move an older loved one into a residential assisted care facility can be a stressful time for all involved. The decision may be a straight forward one for some, with the person who will be the resident being involved in the choosing of the facility. However, for others there may be resistance to the idea of assisted living.
Many older loved ones may not recognize their need for assistance with daily living, or may deny that they can no longer cope without it; some others still may not be capable of making the decision at all. This may be the case for those who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or who have suffered a stroke. For the family this can be a challenging time and fraught with guilt.
There are however some ways to make this challenging process easier for everyone.
Tips for a smooth transition
- Involve the person in the process of choosing their new home if at all possible – this will help the person to feel that they still have some control.
- Make sure they have some of their belongings around them – this will make the accommodation feel more familiar and help the person settle more quickly.
- Accept that your loved one may feel very emotional about this move and try to understand that their emotions at times may be difficult for them and you to experience.
- Look after yourself – Make sure that you, as the person supporting the older loved one through this transition, also get enough support.
- Try to make sure that your loved one gets enough visits from family members and friends often. Being forgotten is a fear for older people entering assisted living facilities.
- Keep your older loved one up to date with family, community and world news. This will help prevent them feeling isolated.
- Encourage your older loved one to engage with their new community by participating in some activities provided by their facility and getting to know other residents. However try not to push them into these activities.
- Try to stay positive, even if your older loved one is feeling very negative about the move.
- Seek counselling. Don’t be afraid to seek counselling as you may need support during or after this process too.
Remember the transition experience will be different for every person and the settling in period may not run to any particular timetable. However given patience and understanding, the support you both need and armed with a positive attitude you will all get there.
If this time is causing more stress or distress than you or your older loved one feels they can manage, talking to a therapist, counsellor or other professional may bring some relief.
If you would like further information on family counselling or individual counselling services, please contact us.
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth, Western Australia
Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au
Published: 07/07/16 “8 ways to help Mom transition to assisted living”, Marguerite Manteau-Rao (Huffington Post), Available: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/marguerite-manteaurao/assisted-living_b_3179946.html (Accessed: 2014, December 09).
“Moving to Assisted Living Care”, (Care conversations), Available: https://careconversations.org/moving-assisted-living-care (Accessed: 2014. December 09). Image Reference: Dollar Photo Club