Most elderly adults say the emotional value of their home is more important than the monetary value. Relocation stress syndrome is a diagnosis described by symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, and loneliness.
Moving away from home can take a toll on a senior’s health and quality of life. According to AARP 87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home as they age.
Yet according to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 70 percent of people aged 65 and older can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. This usually occurs in older adults shortly after moving from a private residence to a nursing home or assisted-living facility.
Measures to Minimize Relocation Stress Syndrome
Minimizing the stress of moving is key to helping people transition from their old home to their new one.
- Ensure that all parties are involved in the decision making process. A senior community may be necessary, work to come to an understanding about the community selected.
- Help them get comfortable to feel welcomed into their new home. Let your loved ones choose which items they want to keep from their old home and help them recreate their space as best as possible. Recreating their former environment with photos, previous furniture layout, or similar small things will help them feel like home.
- Encourage them to create connections in their new environment. Being involved in community activities is an excellent way to meet new people.
- Lastly, acknowledge their concerns and feelings. If they feel that their fears or worries are being ignored, loved ones may feel powerless.
Relocation stress syndrome usually appears within the first three months of moving. This can cause stress, irritability and other issues. Listening, addressing the issues and implementing the four tips listed above can help lessen the trauma of relocation stress syndrome.