Moving can be tough and stressful for many people, particularly seniors who are soon moving into a retirement home or similar facility. Not only is there often anxiety here regarding the practical elements of the move itself, many seniors worry about themes like losses of independence and inability to see loved ones regularly when they move to a care facility.
At Cozy Retire, a major part of our assisted living services is an introduction and transition program all our residents are taken through to help them familiarize themselves with our facilities and become more comfortable with our programs and services. However, many caregivers find that beginning to prepare their senior loved one in advance of this move is the best method for reliving move-related anxiety and fears. This two-part blog will go over several specific areas that are often beneficial for soothing moving anxiety in seniors.
The kinds of anxiety we’re talking about here are so significant and common, in fact, that psychologists have a term for them. It’s known as “relocation stress syndrome,” or RSS, which refers to specific issues and emotions that older adults experience when relocating as they age, particularly to assisted living and related facilities. RSS covers a whole range of stresses and emotions that may be experienced, from potential grief at losing a longtime home to concerns about independence and daily life.
Our subsequent sections will dig into several beneficial themes when getting a head start on limiting or preventing RSS for a loved one who is performing such a move in the near future.
Throughout this process, from start to finish, be respectful of the senior in question – their emotions about the situation, their specific requests for the move and several related areas. If they’re experiencing concerns, take the time to listen and help work through them in productive ways rather than dismissing them.
In addition, be considerate while downsizing or choosing which items to pack versus discard for the move. If your loved one has an attachment to a given item you think should be trashed, defer to their judgement wherever possible. Maintain these themes as often as you can.
In many cases, it’s hugely valuable to begin certain parts of the planning process in advance. Get measurements of the new floor plan your loved one will be moving into and discuss this with them, for instance, plus related themes like which major items you’ll be bringing along and how they’ll be placed. Allow your loved one as much control over this process as possible, as they are the one who will be living in this new location moving forward. This also helps ease much of the anxiety that’s often in place ahead of the moving day itself.