What is Relocation Stress Syndrome?

Over the past two decades, increasing attention has been paid to relocation stress syndrome (RSS), which is also known as transfer trauma. RSS is a formal nursing diagnosis characterized by a combination of physiological and psychological disturbances that occur as a result of transferring a person from one environment to another. Symptoms of relocation stress syndrome include exhaustion, sleep disturbances, anxiety, grief and loss, depression and disorientation. In seniors, these symptoms are exacerbated by dementia, mild cognitive impairment, poor physical health, frailty, lack of a support system, and sensory impairment. For these seniors in particular, the resulting confusion, depression and agitation have led to increased falls, undesirable weight loss and self-care deficits.

What New Beginning Relocation Service Can do to Offset Relocation Stress Syndrome

Studies have shown that certain actions are successful in minimizing RSS. These actions, which can be undertaken by family members, are all hallmarks of senior move management and what New Beginning Relocation Service has built-in its services. They include:

  • New Beginning Relocation Service involves the senior client in the decision and planning process as much as possible.
  • Providing the senior client with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss his or her concerns is a priority for us.
  • Honoring the individual’s preferences and allowing him or her to maintain control.
  • We pay attention to details and maintain the senior’s clients’ daily routine as much as possible.
  • We safeguard the senior clients’ personal possessions by strict inventory control.
  • New Beginning Relocation Service encourages the senior client involvement in setting up the new room or apartment space.
  • We strive to make the new home resemble (as much as possible) the old home.
  • Helping in any way to make the resident become acclimated to their new environment is what sets New Beginning Relocation Service apart from other move management companies.

It is not surprising that seniors do better after a move when they are involved in the decision, have an opportunity to voice their concerns and be heard, and are able to maintain a sense of control. The problem is: seniors often don't get this opportunity. Well-meaning family members may make decisions on their elderly loved ones' behalf, not soliciting or listening to their concerns, or simply need to move the seniors faster than they can handle. In short, family members often focus on the details of the move rather than on the person who is moving.

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