Change can be stressful for anyone, but it can be doubly so for senior family members who must move from their long-time residences into assisted living facilities. The fear of loss coupled with the fear of being forgotten can make the transitioning family member feel anxious, and it can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as the onset of depression and combative behavior. Here are two things you can do to help ease transition anxiety for your senior family member.
Involve the Person As Much As Possible
One of the biggest concerns your senior family member may have about the transition is the loss of independence, and this feeling can be exacerbated if the person is being left out of the decision-making and planning processes. Your loved one may feel like his or her agency is being snatched away and that he or she is being shuffled off to place that will steal any remaining independence.
Involve the person in the process as much as you reasonably can. For instance, let your loved one sort through his or her possessions and decide what happens to them (e.g. keep or give away picture albums). If possible, let the person choose the unit he or she will live in at the facility. Even something as simple as deciding what day to actually make the move can make your loved one feel empowered.
Establish or Reestablish Routines Quickly
Routines provide a lot of comfort and reassurance, especially for older people who may be struggling with mental challenges such as memory deficiencies. Moving from one place to another is bound to disrupt some routines and completely eliminate others. Therefore, another way to help reduce transition anxiety is to reestablish as many old routines as possible and create new ones to replace the ones that were lost.
For instance, if your loved one had a habit of getting the mail at a certain time each day, show him or her where the mailbox is and set an alarm for the new delivery time so the person knows when to check for it. For people who relocate to different cities or states, make a list of the television stations and a schedule of when the person's favorite shows come on and post it by the TV to help reduce the stress of being in an unfamiliar place.
Moving to a senior living facility can be challenging for your loved one, but adequate preparation can make the process easier. For more tips on easing transition anxiety or information about the services available at senior living facilities, contact a company in your area.
Sometimes things don't work out as we have planned them to. Instead of being able to take care of your aging parent in your home for several years, it may prove to be more difficult than you first thought. I brought my mother to live with my family hoping to enjoy her final years with her, but it didn't work out well for any of us. I wasn't able to care for her the way that she deserved to be cared for. Our blog will provide you with information about making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home.