Are You Moving an Aging Loved One? What to Know in Virginia Beach, VA
Visiting Angels offers in-home care in Virginia Beach, VA, and other areas.
The thought of moving an elderly relative can be rather frightening because it entails packing up a lifetime's worth of memories and possessions. Making decisions becomes significantly more difficult when you consider a diagnosis of dementia or another terminal illness, a history of conflict in your relationship, or the recent passing of a spouse. However, there are times when moving is necessary to better give an older loved one the care, support, and presence they deserve.
When weighing the advantages and disadvantages of moving, whether locally or nationally, bear the following in mind:
Moving Is More Than Just a Change of Address
Unaware of the emotional toll that moving can have, many caregivers. Aside from the mental turmoil caused by the thought of leaving one's routine, comfort zone, and long-term home, there is stress related to packing, planning logistics, selling a home, and other responsibilities. Even if a parent or senior loved one hasn't been able to take care of the house or be involved in the neighborhood for some time, it won't be easy to leave behind friends, neighbors, and everything familiar. They are bidding farewell to places they love to eat, shop, even a mailman they have known for years. Medical specialists who are familiar with their complicated medical histories and care needs may be moving away from long-distance travelers. They won't be able to see the children playing in the neighbor's yard across the street or the lovely lake vista from their bedroom window.
A Team is Needed to Move.
Again, in addition to the laborious physical effort needed for packing, unpacking, downsizing, and streamlining, it is vital to involve your senior loved one in the process. Find out what they enjoyed best about the place they are leaving as well as their choices for a place to call home.
Would moving Dad into the basement apartment of your house be preferable than him maintaining his independence in a small apartment nearby? Consider things like proximity and how they might affect your connection. If you and your parent are moving in together after a period of strained relations, make sure you both have a separate space in the home for moments when you need alone.
If your children or grandkids still reside in your home or frequently visit, you can all benefit from intergenerational interactions. But you'll also need to prepare for the shift that comes with a new resident and a different dynamic.
The Process of Moving Is Continuous
Moving takes time. After packing, you move, unpack, and establish.
These are merely the practical problems; unpacking and settling require time. It takes time to adjust to a new routine and environment. If your mother-in-law previously lived in a distant time zone and you only chatted on the phone once or twice per month, having her move to your time zone will be a huge upheaval. Making new acquaintances will take time, and you might need to facilitate social interactions. You'll need to find new healthcare specialists. This can also take some time, particularly if you're driven to find the perfect match. While these changes are taking place, be kind with yourself and your loved one. It could be necessary to support your loved one in finding friends or a hobby at times, and it might be necessary to pull aside at other times.
Your elderly loved one can make new friends online or in a new community by meeting new people there. Click here to read more about the benefits of putting an older loved one on social media.
A person changes after moving.
By its very nature, moving is stressful and may bring out the worst in people. However, it can also give you the chance to interact with a parent or senior relative in new ways as you enter this new phase of your lives. However, the move will impact your lives as a couple. The older adult you are "uprooting" will disrupt the dynamics of your own life, your household, and your daily routine. Be prepared for potential power struggles or conflict in this new stage of your relationship, but also be open to unforeseen joy.
Start building your village as soon as possible.
You could think that by getting closer to your loved one, you'll be able to take care of them on your own. And while that might be true at first, you should get started on creating your caregiving community right away. In fact, it's ideal to establish as much of that support network before the move as you can because it will help you forget about the strain of packing and relocating.
Start researching and communicating with local home care services as you get ready to move. Find out what services they offer and how they might be able to meet the unique needs and circumstances of your loved one. Even if it's just a few hours a week, start services as soon as your parent or elderly relative arrives to establish a relationship with the facility and a qualified caregiver. While they are there, you can make the required adjustments if you find that your loved one requires more or less care than you anticipated. But starting earlier will make the transition to home care smoother when the time comes.
Click below to find out more about companion care and how it can be just what your aging loved one needs in their new home.