Aging is a reality that we all face.
One of the biggest hurdles is the change to moving into an aged care home or residential facility. This life change can bring on a variety of emotions for both the person moving and their family. There may be feelings and concerns with loss of freedom, and a change from the routine of day to day.
Here are 5 points to consider when helping a relative move towards aged care.
Plant the idea of moving into the aged care center as "just an idea", in the beginning. If you approach the idea as a conversation and consider your relatives reaction you might find their response will be more willing to think the idea over. In any case, it will go over better than an ultimatum. Telling them they are going or coming at your relative as though the decision has already been made for them, will likely be met with resistance. And with good reason. No one wants to feel like their choices are being taken away from them.
Listen to their fears and concerns. We all need validation, especially when facing big changes and decisions. Validating how they feel and any concerns they may have can help them to cope and handle the change positively.
Get their input. This is potentially the place they will live out their last days. Discuss and understand what they want from aged care. Find a facility that matches their requirements.
Help them to socialise, locate groups of friends. Family is great, but everyone needs friends. Friends provide a perspective that relatives don't often see. Try to find a way to socalise with people in the facility community, before your relative moves in.
Choose somewhere close by and visit often. Doesn't need saying does it? One of the saddest things for someone who is accustomed to seeing family on a regular basis is when no one comes to see them anymore and the loneliness begins to set in.
Regardless of the way you approach aged care with your relative you may still be met with emotional upset and resistance. It is very hard for us to change from what we’ve always known, and the unknown can be terrifying for anyone of any age. Ensuring that they know you love them and have their best interest in mind can help the process. It doesn’t have to be hard, but be understanding if there are difficulties. Love and understanding will go a long way.