Being a caregiver is easily the hardest job you’ll undertake in your life. One the most challenging tasks faced by a caregiver is moving a family member into an assisted living home. It is an emotional, physical and mental strain on everyone involved, but your priority is making the transition as easy as possible for your loved one.
Let’s have a frank discussion about the problems you’ll face and how to handle them.
The Emotional Strain Can be Harder Than the Physical
Moving out of a home can be difficult at any stage in life. However, when you’d rather stay but have to move that’s a whole other story. Memories are attached to the home, which is important, especially for loved ones suffering from memory problems. The home is also an emotional connection to family and friends.
The trick is focusing on the positives and the necessity of the move, while acknowledging that the move is emotionally trying.
- Keep the focus on their health and safety.
- Ensure them that the home will be taken care of if it isn’t being sold.
- Focus on how you’ll make memories in the new home.
- Start planning trips for friends and family to come visit.
Often the emotional part of the move will be harder than the physical challenges. Allow your loved ones to vent and reminisce, but keep them focused on the future benefits.
Unfamiliar Space Can Create Stress
New environments often come with a certain degree of stress. We like knowing where everything is and feeling that sense of belonging that comes with time. Add on top of that the issue of having a memory that isn’t as strong as it use to be, and a new home can be a stress factor rather than a safe haven.
Try to arrange things similarly to how they were in the old home whenever possible. For instance if silverware was in the drawer to the right of the sink in the old home put it in the same place in the new home.
It can also help to get together with your loved one and come up with an interior-decorating plan. That way they can dictate where everything is at and where it makes the most sense to them. This may even provide your family member with a more positive way of looking at the situation and give them a feeling of control over the situation.
Factoring in Mobility
Consider what is most important to your loved ones individual needs in the new home based on their mobility levels. Fortunately most assisted living homes are built specifically for people that are likely to have mobility issues.
- Limit the amount of clutter – even if that means leaving a few more things in storage or at the old house.
- Create wide walkways with clear paths – this includes the walk up to the front door.
- Put in a grab bar anywhere there is a step.
- Try to add seating in the kitchen so you’re loved one can prepare food more comfortably.
- Make sure there’s ample space around furniture.
- Don’t put down rugs.
Deciding What to Bring
When it comes time to pack up you’ll be faced with some important choices as far as what to bring to the new home and how to handle everything else. Oftentimes all the loved one’s things can’t fit into their new home. So how do you keep everything from getting too cluttered especially when memories are often attached to possessions?
First and foremost have a back up plan for storing the items that your loved one wants to keep but won’t fit in the home. This can include a storage unit, moving things into family members’ homes – whatever your loved one prefers.
If there are multiples of something keep only what is needed and donate, sell or recycle the rest. Sheets, blankets, towels, plates, etc. can all be downsized rather easily.
Does your loved one like having new things? If you have a unique space or the current furniture just won’t work discuss the possibility of buying new things to fit the smaller space and let your loved one do all the choosing.
Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/cibergaita/94558369