Supporting people as they prepare for life changes is a really important part of what we do here at Yarrow. It goes hand in hand with empowering people to live their own lives and being fully involved in decisions that affect them. Earlier this year, we learnt that one of our supported living houses was to close, and that the four gentlemen living there would be moving on to new homes.
It’s common knowledge that moving home can be one of the most stressful times of life, not least because it means we leave behind familiar places and change our regular routines. Change can be difficult for everyone, even when it is for a good reason.
Of the four people we support at this house, one has been living there for five years, and another two have been living together for almost 20 years. All four will be moving on to separate homes. Two will be moving to new homes that are close together, and Yarrow will support them to stay in touch if they would like to do so. The team has been supporting the gentlemen to make sure that they understand what is going to happen, according to their own abilities, and can begin to prepare for the move.
As you might expect, each has reacted in different ways to the news.
One gentleman is very calm and happy with the news and in fact is impatient to move! He is finding it hard to wait as he is very pleased with his new home and would like to be there straight away.
One of the gentlemen has lots of questions. He has regular meetings with the team where he can ask these questions and he makes a note of other worries in the meantime. For example, he wanted to know more detail about how and when to pack his belongings, if his pet fish come too and if the internet will work in the same way.
The third gentlemen reacted very positively, but the team has noticed some changes in his behaviour which began soon after he was given the news. They are giving him extra support to find out more about his new home and begin to adjust to the change that is ahead.
The fourth gentleman will be moving on to a residential care home. As he does not use speech, the team will offer to maintain contact to make this transition as smooth as possible.
At Yarrow we take a very proactive approach to supporting people through changes such as moving home. This starts with making sure that people are involved in every step of the decision-making process. The whole team works together to make sure that the people they support fully understand the information they are being given and are making informed decisions. We support people to make good decisions and also regularly check back to make sure that they are still happy with these decisions. This includes talking about how they might feel and reassuring them that all of these feelings are valid and important. We also make sure that everyone has the opportunity to talk about their fears. Their friends and families and the people that support them might have some of these feelings too.
We work with other professionals and Landlords to make sure that they also involve people and keep them informed, and where possible and practicable we will remain in contact after the move to help smooth the transition. With this support the team will ensure that moving on will be a positive experience.