Helping Your Loved One with a “Care Transition”

care transitionsMoving anywhere can be difficult, and this type of change may be particularly so for our beloved elderly facing some level of senior care. Whether it’s a transition to assisted living or a higher level of nursing care, older adults face varying degrees of adjustment. Maple Manor Christian Home shares details below about challenges your senior loved one may face during a move, and how you can help them with the transition.

Challenges of moving to a care facility

When seniors move to assisted living or nursing care, they’ll experience a number of changes that may affect their emotions and moods. While not all seniors have troubles adjusting to living in a care facility, recognizing their challenges can help those around them gain a level of empathy and understanding of how to help them transition through this time. Our new residents may feel:

  • ♥ Sadness about losing their home, household possessions, and neighborhood friends
  • ♥ Disorientation from living in a new place and dealing with new people, including residents and staff
  • ♥ Resentment about their loss of independence
  • ♥ Difficulty in adjusting to new routines, like meal schedules
  • ♥ Feelings of abandonment

It’s common for seniors to work through these initial feelings and come to realize that some many aspects of care facilities are actually valuable. They come to recognize the benefit of having others do their housekeeping and meal preparation. Feelings of abandonment turn into gratitude with the understanding that family members were looking out for their best interests.

How to ease the transition

A key to helping relocating seniors is to provide positive reassurance about the move, emphasizing this is a new chapter in their lives that will allow them to live safely and thrive in a community. Below are some tips on how family members can help with this transition.

  • Visit the care facility before the move takes place. After selecting a senior community, take your loved one there before the move for meals or events so they become familiar with the layout, residents, and staff.
  • Remember the need for independence. While visiting often especially in the first days and weeks of the transition are reassuring, being overprotective can be counter-productive.
  • Make their new living space feel like home. Bring photos and other personal items from home. Set up the bedroom, living space, and kitchen like it was at home.
  • Acknowledge negative feelings. Be prepared for your loved one to criticize things about their new home. They may say they want to go home. Do not hastily dismiss negative comments. Acknowledging these feelings will allow them to know you understand and care. Listening and providing comfort is powerful. Redirect at an appropriate time with a suggestion like, “Let’s go for a cup of coffee.”
  • Encourage your loved one to get involved in activities and stay active. Review the social calendars with them. Ask what they may be interested in trying. Attend an exercise class with them. Some care centers even have volunteer opportunities.
  • Seek assistance and suggestions from staff. You and your family are advocates for your loved one, but this transition may be equally confusing for you. Don’t hesitate to talk to staff about all of your questions. Most care facilities have social workers on-site that can help you as well.

Maple Manor Christian Home is a skilled nursing facility, certified by the Indiana State Department of Health. Our mission is to provide outstanding care for all of our residents by being compassionate, affectionate, respectful, and enthusiastic. We welcome family and friends and encourage them to visit frequently. Call us at (812) 246-4866 with any questions and to schedule a tour.

Sources: https://careconversations.org/transition-care | https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/quality-of-care/improvement-initiatives/care-transitions/index.html | https://www.assistedliving.com/helping-elderly-aging-parents-adjust-senior-living-01112013/

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