Preparing to Move: Lessons I’ve Learned

I have moved four times over the last many years starting with leaving my parent’s home when I was 25 years old. I was comfortable at home, so I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of moving out, but I didn’t have enough PSW supported care. Lots of people move out, but I was a bit afraid of the unknown and there were tears as it was a big step. It was hard to adjust because my first place had five housemates and I didn’t have much in common with some of them.

After many years in a variety of housing models, I am now at PHSS. I have been here for just over a year and am settled, but still have more settling in. I hope some of my experiences can offer both those who are transitioning and their loved ones some ideas and comfort.

Areas of Transitioning

There are many aspects to transitioning including a new neighbourhood, home, and people, both housemates and support team.

I find it is hard meeting new neighbours but it’s easier in the summer as you can get outside and meet people.  This PHSS home is in the same area as I grew up, so I am a bit familiar with the area which is very helpful.

Even the home is transitioning. The home is wheelchair accessible although there were still renovations needed when I moved in. My room is my own to paint and decorate as I like, and then there is common space I share with my housemate.

One thing PHSS does before setting up a support care team is to come and see what is in place now and what the needs are. PHSS think of us as people first, not clients. This is something that helps in the transition to a new support team. Dealing with many people, sometimes conflicts occur and that can be a challenge depending on your personality. But there are people to help through conflicts.

Expectations

Expectations are a big part of a transition. It may be my expectation of others or their expectations of me. Having transitioned four times, I have learned some things about expectations.

Gaining an understanding of how independent they expected me to be was important. They may ask for some goal setting and encourage you to try new things in order to become more independent.

I also learned that there are times that are better than others to expect staff to be available to do extra things or just chat. There are times when they are busy and times when they have downtime where we can do things together.

One of the challenges is just getting to know people and getting them to know you. Expect this to take some time.

Tips
  1. Before you move out of your parent’s home, try to save a bit of money for food, groceries, hydro, cable…
  2. Make your space your own. Colours, items from home, as many familiar things as you can.
  3. Keep your routines and things you do outside the home as much as possible
  4. Tell the staff how you are feeling e.g., overwhelmed, tired...
  5. Think outside the box to set goals and be encouraged to do more
  6. Learn to speak up and share what you need. Know what you need and how to verbalize it.
  7. Keep in mind they are there to help.

Transitioning can be scary, but as I look back over the years, I have grown and learned a lot. I am grateful for where I am now.

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