Colleen Doyle, who co-authored Moving into Residential Care: A Practical Guide for Older People and Their Families with Gail Roberts, talks to editor Victoria Galligan about the impact on families of such a transition.
What does your book Moving Into Residential Care cover, and who should read it?
Moving into Residential Care; a practical guide for older people and their families by Colleen Doyle and Gail Roberts is a book about what helps and what doesn’t help during the life transition of moving from living independently to living in residential aged care. It is written for older people and their families. Aged care staff may find it beneficial to read as well. It covers the psychological impact of moving at this stage of life.
What do you find is the main psychological impact of having a relative moving into care?
Moving into care is a major life event, and viewing it in this way can help families and the older person themselves to understand the impact, allow themselves permission to experience a range of emotions and to adjust to their new circumstances.
Can you give an example from your book of how families have struggled with finding a suitable residential care home?
In the book we provide some stories from real people who have recently experienced the move. For example, Gerard (not his real name) had to move unexpectedly into a care home after a period of hospitalization. He and his family found the move very difficult, as some quick decisions had to be made.
Care home staff made the transition easier by allowing Gerard as much control as possible over his routines and checking with him and his family to give them a sense of empowerment. Care homes that provide pastoral care during the transition period and beyond pay special attention to ‘being with’ the resident.
Can you give some good examples of care homes which provide transition support?
Good homes will allow new residents to maintain as much of their old routines and preferences as possible. By assisting residents to maintain a sense of purpose at every stage of their transition, the psychological impact can be buffered. The book gives some tips for maintaining resilience in the face of this transition. Making connections, changing the way you think about events, accepting that nothing every stays the same, and having some goals for each day no matter how small can help people to adjust.
With an ageing population, is there enough provision for elderly care in the UK?
With ageing populations in the UK and other western countries, a range of care options are needed. Moving into residential care is often not the first choice for people, but it can enable people to continue to live their life with some comfort and enjoyment given the right social supports, individual resilience and care home supports. Our book provides some tips to help with the transition to residential care for people in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and some practical information such as internet resources for each country.