Whether your mom is coping with dementia or schizophrenia, these tips for helping parents move to adult group homes might help you survive the transition. My mom has schizophrenia, and is facing a difficult move to a group home. This is the first time she’s lived with other people, and it won’t be easy.
If you don’t know much about coping with mental illness, books such as The Family Guide to Mental Health Care by Dr Lloyd Sederer. It’s the first comprehensive print resource for the millions of people who have loved ones suffering from some kind of mental illness. In this book, families can find the answers to their most urgent questions. What medications are helpful for elderly parents with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, and are some medications as dangerous as I think? From understanding depression, bipolar illness and anxiety to eating and traumatic disorders, schizophrenia, and much more, readers will learn what to do and how to help.
Here are a few tips on finding adult group homes for parents, inspired by my experience helping my mom move to a group home for people coping with mental illness.
Tips for Helping Mom Move to an Adult Group Home
Adult group homes aren’t exactly what I thought I’d be touring when I pictured my mom moving to a retirement home, but it is what it is. Acceptance, not resistance, is my secret to bouncing back.
Deal with your past hurts, disappointments, and pain
How has your parents’ health issue affected your childhood, and your current relationship with them? My mom has struggled with schizophrenia most of my life, so these tips might be especially applicable if you’re helping parents with mental or emotional health issues other than dementia. Dementia is often a late-onset health issue, and thus affects your relationship with your parents differently than if you grew up with a mom or dad with schizophrenia or another mental health issue. If you’re coping with unprocessed emotional pain because of your childhood, you may not be in a healthy position to help your mom move to an adult group home. Be aware of your own emotional and mental health.
Do not attempt the move alone – get help helping your parents
I grew up with a schizophrenic mom, which I briefly describe in How to Deal With Difficult Parents. I’m 44 years old now: one of my regrets is not joining a support group for adult children of parents with mental health problems. I suppose it’s not too late – I could always find a support group for adult children of schizophrenic parents in Vancouver. But I feel like it would’ve been more helpful earlier in my life, when her mental health issues were more prominent in my life.
Contact community mental health
I talked to my mom’s mental health nurse earlier today, and she said there is a big difference between social services in Saskatchewan (where my mom lives), and community mental health. Find out what services community mental health offers, in terms of adult group homes and helping your mom move. Find out what resources are available through social services. It takes time and effort, but you might find people and support systems that are invaluable to your mom’s move.
Find “mental health approved group homes for adults”
My mom lives in Saskatchewan, where they have adult group homes that are actually approved for adults with mental health issues. If you’re literally touring or visiting adult group homes for your parents, find out if the province or state has licensed or approved the home for people with mental health issues. If you’re helping parents who have dementia, make sure the homes are legislated and legally allowed to care for adults with dementia.
Talk to the caregivers in the group homes for adults
This is an important tip on how to help your mom move to an adult group home, but I won’t be able to talk to the cargeviers in the adult group homes. I live in Vancouver, and I won’t be able to drive to Melfort, Saskatchewan to either tour adult group homes or help my mom actually move. She was unexpectedly evicted from her current residence, and I can’t drive to Saskatchewan for another week. So this is an idea for helping parents that I 100% support in theory, but will not practice.
Find or hire a caregiver who can take care of your mom
I am so fortunate that Saskatchewan is taking care of my mom. Her community mental health nurse found the group home that my mom is moving to, and is arranging the first visit between the primary caregiver at the group home and my mom. It looks like my mom will move to the group home before I can get to Saskatchewan, and I’ll be able to visit the group home whenever I like. So I may not be able to literally help my move to an adult group home – I may miss the actual move.
If you already have a caregiver – or you like one of the staff members at the group home where your mom is moving – read 10 Thoughtful Thank You Gifts for Caregivers.
Don’t expect what your family can’t give you
Are you alone in helping your mom move to a group home for adults because your siblings or other family members can’t or won’t help? I am. I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love because my sister stopped talking to me a few years ago (and not because I’m a bad sister! I didn’t do anything wrong, or even remotely immoral or illegal or hurtful). I have no family members other than her and a couple of very distant cousins, and I’ve learned that I need to accept my family for what it is – schizophrenic mother, adult group homes, and mental illness in my family.
My prayer for all of us who need to find ways to help parents move to adult group homes is that we find strength and courage to support our moms and dads. May we forgive whatever they did to us, whether it was neglect or abuse, and may we find it in our hearts to give the help they need. May the adult group homes be peaceful places to be, safe, and full of caregivers who can give our family what we can’t. May we find peace with our situations, and learn the best tips on how to help our moms without losing ourselves or sacrificing our health. Amen.
I welcome your thoughts on how to help your mom move to a group home for adults. I haven’t offered practical tips for helping parents move (eg, how to declutter and pack boxes!), but I hope it helps to know you’re not alone.