One of the questions I get most often from people considering Copley at Stoughton is, “How easy will it be for my parent/grandparent/loved one to adjust to long-term care?” Personally, I understand the struggle as I’ve had my own family make this same transition. To be honest, my own mother-in-law was probably one of the most difficult transitions I’ve ever experienced. I will say, after a few months she acclimated and loved calling Copley “home” I actually had to make an appointment to visit her.
Of course, every person is different. Some people adjust very well. For others, moving away from the home they have lived in for years – or decades – can be difficult. We do everything we can to make the move easier, but a lot of the emotional support has to come from the family. Be assured, we have never had a resident not adjust, some just take longer than others.
Here are a few general tips for helping your loved one move into long-term care:
Plan ahead. Take care of business. Don’t wait to the last minute. Tour as many places as possible. If you’re not comfortable, will your family member be? Meet the staff and administrator. Once you find a place that is a good fit and feels right, do not procrastinate. It is often difficult to find a bed in the home you want if you wait until the day you need it.
Be Prepared. Everything will be wrong at first. Complaints are normal, as the person moving in is well aware that only you can be the one to take them back. Be strong and don’t allow them to take advantage of your soft spot, give it time.
Involve the whole family. It’s easier if everyone takes part, including your loved one, if possible. Talking about the move helps everyone adjust. It’s also a good idea for everyone to do a site visit ahead of moving day. In fact, we strongly encourage this.
Try to make it as homey as possible. Celebrate the move with flowers, family photos, a plant, bedding, or other housewarming gifts. Pre-paid cell phones or an iPad are also popular and help your loved ones contact family members when they need to. Make their space familiar.
Share a meal. It’s more fun and meaningful if the whole family is there to share a meal together after the move. Your loved one’s new home should be a comfortable space for everyone else too. At Copley, we always encourage family visits! The pub on the second floor is the perfect spot for a family dinner together.
Lastly, family members themselves may also have to adjust. Besides helping with the physical move and getting used to visiting their loved one in a new place, you can experience a range of feelings. Guilt, anger, relief, embarrassment – I’ve seen it all, and it’s natural. Be sure to reflect on your own feelings and know that you’re not alone. Our admissions staff and I will be happy to address any questions you may have. We have an open-door policy.
The bottom line is that we all want what’s best for our loved ones. Copley will do everything possible to help them feel safe, secure, and right at home. The support you give will go a long way as well.