Moving homes is among one of the top five stresses in life. It’s a disruption in routine, it’s labour intensive, costly and just plain stressful. Imagine how much harder this is for elderly people, with the loss of familiarity, routine and parting with friends and other family members. They may have lived half or more of their lives in the same place, so moving when older can have a traumatic effect.
Relocation Stress Syndrome
Relocation Stress Syndrome is the psychological failure to adjust to the changes involved in moving. Leading up to the move if a loved one suffers from relocation stress; they may become irritable or combative. The signs of this may be sleeplessness, poor appetite, confusion, loneliness, anxiety or depression. They may withdraw or isolate themselves and feel unable to focus.
Preventing Relocation Stress
- Keep your loved ones involved in the decision making process, so they feel empowered and involved.
- Create a homely environment in their new home with some furniture from home and photos and special artefact’s. Check our blog Downsizing into Aged Care.
- Incite and support new relationships, and encourage involvement in community activities in the home to help forge new relationships.
- Acknowledge fears and feelings as legitimate. It’s important your loved one feels included, listened to and importantly understood.
- Rent a storage unit if some items are difficult to part with.
- Find a new doctor ahead of time, if because of the relocation, the current doctor will be too far. Elderly people tend to visit the Doctor’s regularly, so it’s a good idea to prepare ahead if they will need a new Dr or specialist help.
- Hire professional movers, don’t try to do it yourself.
- Contact family members to help well in advance!
- Familiarise yourself with the amenities and activities offered in the home before your loved one moves in, so you can start discussing them before the move.
- Visit as often as you can when your parents have first moved in, as it will help to reduce any anxiety and will help to ease them into their new home.
Even if you just tick a few of the above points it will assist with the transition over time. In our next blog we will discuss making new friends in an Aged Care home. If you or your loved ones would like to visit any of our homes please contact us here.