What feelings might someone experience when moving into residential care?

As can be expected these feelings are as varied as the circumstances and the people involved. Moving house even in the best of times is well recognised as being a stressful event. A large proportion of people however find themselves in the position of making a decision when they are feeling quite fragile e.g. following the death of a spouse who had been their caregiver or a decline in their own health. It is not surprising then, that many of the feelings people experience about residential care are perceived as being negative. Often this response is the normal ‘outworking’ of grief associated with these losses and after a period of time most people feel far more positive. The following are typical of the initial range of feelings;

     bewilderment/confusion, a sense of being overwhelmed e.g. by the process leading up to the event



     grief associated with multiple losses e.g. home, neighbours, pets, loss of control over their lives, the death of a spouse

     nervousness about leaving the familiar and facing the unfamiliar

     worry about a potential loss of privacy

     anger e.g. about the financial situation, particularly the inability in some instances to pass on the ‘fruit of their hard work’ to their children

     relief, particularly if the move has been anticipated

     anticipation e.g. making new friends/trying new things

     reassurance, confidence and an increase in a sense of personal security

Occasionally people are so overwhelmed by the situation that they want others to make decisions for them. This can become a problem later on as the person can feel resentful that they did not make the decision themselves and may blame others if they are unhappy with the placement. Care, therefore, needs to be taken to ensure that the person is as involved as possible in the decision making process.

Depression may also complicate things and although depression is often thought of as a younger person’s problem, it is a common complaint of older people and often goes unrecognised. It is important to seek help from a health professional if depression is suspected or if ‘low mood’ continues.

© Eldernet 2014