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Planning Your First Day Without Mom Or Dad

Most people begin their caregiving role with an aging parent who is starting to decline. It’s likely that they have spent little or no time preparing for this enormous job — mentally, emotionally or physically. This role can last anywhere from weeks to months to years — possibly until it’s evident that your parent needs more help than you can provide.

Eventually, the move to an assisted living or skilled nursing community may become necessary for everyone’s health and well-being. Whatever happens, caregivers don’t stop being caregivers, but they will undergo a significant life change once they stop being the primary caregiver.

You will most likely have a huge jumble of mixed emotions on move-in day. The day after move-in day can be equally confusing — with feelings of too much to do, or not knowing what to do with yourself with all the extra time, or simply just feeling lost.

One thing to remember for this significant day: Be gentle with yourself. Allow the day to unfold gently and gradually and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up.

Post Move-In Day Suggestions

Remember, don’t overdo it! Carefully plan your first days after move-in, and choose a few of the following activities that will best rejuvenate you and get you on track to a healthy, active life.

  • Make a list of hobbies, job ideas, activities or travel that you want to undertake in the next year — anything that you find rewarding and enjoyable.
  • Start a novel or join a book club.
  • Plan a regular visitation schedule for your parent, and mark down any family events at the community on your calendar.
  • Take a nap.
  • Schedule an appointment with your physician for a routine checkup.
  • Join a yoga or meditation class.
  • Exercise, or do an activity that gets your heart rate up, like walking or gardening.
  • Reconnect with friends you haven’t had time to see and schedule some fun get-togethers with them.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Pamper yourself with a salon or spa treatment.
  • Go out to eat at a favorite restaurant.
  • Get to bed at a decent hour and sleep in.

All Caregiver Resource Center staff conversations are confidential.

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