There are moments on the caregiving journey when we must assist the one we are caring for through difficult but necessary transitions. These transitions can be as seemingly simple as getting used to a respite caregiver or companion or as complex as moving a parent to a facility when a higher level of care is necessary. Here are four strategies for transitioning care of a loved one.
Acknowledge the challenge
Let your loved one freely express their fear or frustration. This can be hard because sometimes they may be downright angry and it may inadvertently be aimed at you. Don’t accept abusive language or behavior, but try to understand how you would feel if you were in a similar situation. How would it feel to lose some decision making control? How would it feel to make a big change when you are already feeling vulnerable? Any one of us would at the very least feel frustrated and possibly angry. If they are at least able to express it, the frustration typically diffuses somewhat and it is far more effective than telling them they shouldn’t be upset or frustrated.
Let them know that what they have come to depend on for security, will still be there. Discuss the people and things that will still be in place that give them comfort. Reminding them that they will still be able to go to church, a book club, a weekly lunch date with an old friend or even watch a regular television program can really help them feel like they aren’t losing everything or all control. Spend a little extra time during this transition period and remind family and friends who also offer support to spend a little extra time in a reassuring role. If your loved one is moving from their home make certain they have the things that are important and meaningful to them in their new surroundings. Things such as framed family photographs, a familiar blanket or even sentimental knick knacks really help make a new place feel a bit more like home.
There may be moments you feel like throwing in the towel because the transition is hard for you as well. You may feel guilt at having to make the transition and causing your loved one distress. Even if it is clearly the best decision from a health and safety standpoint, you can have moments of second guessing. Make sure you have support in place for you that can reaffirm your decisions are sound and necessary. Try to remember, this too shall pass and usually once the dust has settled, things will get a great deal easier. This is especially true if your loved one was requiring care at a higher level than you were struggling to provide.
No matter what new systems you have in place, make certain your communication expectations are known. The alska connected caregiving solution makes keeping everyone connected easily. Just because you may not be the primary caregiver anymore doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to stay informed. In fact, I think it is essential for anyone providing care to your loved one, is very aware you will be involved. Be clear about the information that is important to you that you want to be aware of. Maybe you want to know how your loved one is sleeping, how involved they are in activities if they are making new friends. This will not necessarily be assumed as everyone has different things they are concerned about and different levels of involvement. Better care will be provided if it is known as a family member or friend is involved.