The emotional aspects of moving into care

Big changes in life usually warrant big emotions, and this is no different when making the decision to move into care. It is common to experience a lot of conflicting emotions while you are making the decision to move into care, as well as once you have moved into care.

This is one of life’s major events and while you know that your personal well being and safety will now be taken care of (which may bring about a sense of relief) other feelings of hopelessness, loss, anger and resentment, etc. can emerge.

The circumstances surrounding the decision to move into care can be very emotional. At this point you have possibly experienced some losses such as the loss of good health and your complete ability to do everything for yourself. Maybe the decision has been prompted by a sudden change in your health which means you have had little time to think about and plan for this, so you can feel totally unprepared. Or, you may have planned for this and are welcoming the change, feeling relieved that your health and well being will now be taken care of. There are often fears too, about what life is like in a residential care facility and this can add to your anxiety.

While each person copes differently, you might find this helpful:

  • Use successful strategies that got you through the tough times in the past.
  • If you are able, you may want to try writing things down , noting the steps you need to take to resolve your concerns.
  • Involve yourself in the exercise programme that many homes offer; physical and mental well-being are closely linked.
  • Give yourself time to settle in. No matter how you feel about the situation and your new environment. Did you know that you are able to try out a home before making a commitment. You will have to pay for it yourself, but you may just find it is money well spent!
  • Try to avoid blaming others for your situation. If you have a carer or family/whanau when know that they have generally done their best to help you stay at home. Now your need of support is more than can be managed at home.
  • Rather than being resigned to the situation and letting others make decisions for you, try to retain as much control as you can, e.g. take an active part in choosing the home, let people know what do and don’t like, etc. In the longer term you will feel better for it.
  • Talking to someone who is independent may help. Residential care facilities can refer you to a pastoral workers, social worker or other professional person who will listen and may be able to offer some coping strategies. Your conversations with them will be confidential and the service should be free.
  • Alternatively, talk to someone who is a good listener and non-judgmental. You may find that you repeat yourself over and over again, but that can be part of the healing process. A helpful listener will acknowledge your story without trying to ‘straighten you out’ or ‘calm you down’

If you have given yourself reasonable time (a month or two) and tried everything you can and you’re still feeling down, let staff know or talk to your doctor. Depression can be an issue for some who live in a residential care home. Make sure however that your sadness is not a case of the home being a mismatch for you. If it is; you can move. NASC/CCC will explain the process.

Click here to see local NASC/CCC contacts in your area.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.