Making the Transition

Determining that assistance is needed is never easy. However, it can be seen as part of a natural process and can be less traumatic when support is provided. When trying to decide what level of care is needed, it helps to be able to visit as many places as possible and determine, with a physician’s help, what level of care is needed. No matter what the decision, it takes considerable thought and preparation.

Suggested Steps to take:

  • If possible, take time to make the decision. Get complete physical assessments, seek various options, and check into potential living arrangements with visits and/or tours. In other words, do your homework.
  • Communicate with loved ones and support groups. This decision does not have to be done without the assistance of others. Make sure you communicate any concerns and/or fears to friends, family and social workers. Ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid of the answers. The more you know, the more you express, the better you feel about the final decision.
  • Get help making the decision and preparing for the move. Whenever a person moves to an assisted living community or a long term care facility, choices have to be made. Oftentimes, only 60% to 70% of their possessions can accompany them. But if you think about it, this isn’t a new thing. Many times in life, a move will require discarding items or giving them away. Of course, the size and storage options available make all the difference as to what can be kept and what must be discarded, but making the decision ahead of time can help to provide the time needed to prepare.
  • Any change in life can cause grief. Remember that’s what it is – a change in life. Share the good times and grieve the bad, then move on with anticipation to the next phase. There may be more in the next stage than can ever be imagined.
  • If a nursing home is necessary, get as much support as possible. Many times in life we face situations that are not of our own choosing. For many faced with living in a nursing home, it feels like they are no longer in control of their lives and they are going somewhere they don’t want to go and giving up things they don’t want to relinquish. A support system can help to face these issues head-on and to become involved in the decision as much as possible. If possible, this support system can help to prepare by learning what lies ahead and where the “silver linings” exist. For example, being alone and unable to do anything can be extremely lonely (and dangerous.) Having others around can help to lift spirits and encourage greater health. If the staff is truly helpful and the home is cheerful, residents can enjoy the people they come to know and appreciate the fact they are never alone. Social workers and counselors can help with this process as well.
  • Maximize the positive and develop strategies for coping with the stresses. Again, any change can be stressful so seek support whenever you can. Although it’s important to remain positive, it’s also imperative to be realistic. There will be disappointment and frustration, as with any major change in life. There will also be sorrow over what is “lost.” Remember to seek places where independence is assured (and encouraged) as much as possible, for as long as possible.
  • Become empowered. Arm yourself with all the information, tours and background necessary to know that the decision being made is the right one. And prepare yourself and your loved ones for what is ahead.
  • Emphasize value and dignity. Be sure that the facility recognizes the value and worth of each individual because it enables the feeling of being heard and appreciated.

Some have a better ability than others to adjust, but family involvement and support is a crucial factor in enhancing and facilitating these changes, while helping to establish a fulfilling life for many years to come.

Contact us to learn how we can make the process easier.

Making the Transition was last modified: August 27th, 2010 by Petersen Health Care