Joined: 13 Oct 2010
|Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:06 pm Post subject: NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT MOVES
|In elder or dementia caregiving, one of the hardest decisions to make is to move your loved one out of his or her home—or your home—and into a more institutional setting. Making the move bearable for your loved may not always be possible—she or he doesn’t want to go anywhere and that’s that.
But it may help you to help them make the transition if you can remember some significant changes from your own life:
• What did it feel like to you as a child when your family moved to a new home in a new location? Think about those first few days of trying to find your things, especially if some of them had to be left behind. Try to recall what your emotions were when you went to the new school the first time—all those strangers and you didn’t know anyone. Did your parents’ logical explanations and promises that “everything will be alright” make any impact on how you felt?
• What did it feel like as an adult when you went to a new job for the first time? Managing to learn a lot of new names in a short period of time was stressful, wasn’t it? The same was probably true of learning new work rules—written and un-written—so that you weren’t creating problems right off the bat.
• Can you remember what it felt like to give up control of your life when you went into the military or other organization where someone else told you what to do and how to do it? You were probably a bit resentful, even if you managed to comply. Most of us find small ways in which to act out that rebellion—sneaking a forbidden treat, making jokes about the people in charge, etc.
I think you get the point. Moving your loved one puts them into the emotional pool I’ve just asked you to swim in. By honestly answering these questions, you can begin to experience some of what your loved one is experiencing. This sense of loss of the familiar, confusion in the new place with new people and new regimes is especially heightened if your loved one is suffering from dementia.
If you can think along these lines, then you can stretch your imagination far enough to strategize ways to ease this transition and the emotional upset it will engender. There’s a terrific article by Peter Silin, MSW, RSW at www.ec-online.net/knowledge/articles/nursinghomemove.html. Take a look at it if you’re in the process, or if you can see this kind of move coming down the road. It can be a big help in easing your stress and some of the stress of your loved one.