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What is Relocation Stress Syndrome & how can you help?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 | Blog

Many of us have moved around during our lives, some of us too many times to be able to count. Moving can be a stressful experience, but the outcome should be enjoyable. Those with relocation stress syndrome find it difficult to move around, and problems can emerge from this. These can include upset from a loss of routine, lifestyle and the structure that they are used to.

The five main symptoms of relocation stress syndrome (RSS) are anxiety, confusion, dependency, depression and withdrawal. Additionally, common symptoms also include loneliness, stress, lack of sleep, hopelessness, financial strain and a need for constant reassurance.

Among the elderly, RSS can be a lot more prevalent and can lead to further problems. These can be things such as falls, self-care shortfalls such as forgetting to take medication or poor oral hygiene habits. Rapid weight loss and fear of social situations can also occur.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of relocation stress syndrome, being aware and addressing the responses to change is the best way to minimise the intensity of RSS. One of the best things to do is to ensure family members are involved in the move, as well as caregivers if this is a possibility. Family and those in a position of care are likely to be able to watch for signs of unusual behaviour.

Make sure you always keep them in the loop about what is going on, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Older people should not be infantilised. They are adults and deserve dignity and the honesty of what is going to happen. If relocation is rushed, this is when anxiety can be heightened. If someone is going into hospital or into a care home for a prolonged period of time, whoever is managing the move can help to make it easier by ensuring important items are taken with them. They can also make sure that their favourite photos and treasured possessions are also taken with them.

Typically, it takes 3-6 months for somebody to feel at home in a new place. What shouldn’t happen in this time is another move. Layering trauma on top of trauma will not be helpful at ensuring somebody feels happy and safe in their environment.

 A lack of choice increases fear, especially when change is imminent. Assisted living communities regularly have new people, and it can improve quality of life greatly. Forcing your loved one to embrace the change can be one of the worst things you can do. Acknowledging that fears and sadness are normal can be helpful to them in the long run.

If someone you know needs care, or if you would like to work for Kare Plus, contact us today. Read about the services we offer here: https://www.kareplus.co.uk/services/

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