1.3.6 Relocation: acceptance
Of equal importance in terms of adjustment is an acceptance of the new situation and identification with the new life (Lieberman and Tobin, 1983). Reed and Roskell Payton (1995) have shown how ‘adjusting to life in a care home is a complex process, requiring a range of social skills’. They have observed a range of strategies from those people who ‘"push" themselves on strangers’ to those who ‘construct familiarity’ using what little they know about people and places to find common bonds and therefore permit conversation.
They also show how within our present system of long-term care for older people, changes in a person's physical or mental health may lead to further transitions: the most common is from a residential care home to a nursing home. Such additional moves may further unsettle a fragile equilibrium as this case showed.
In many ways this experience is paralleled by others receiving care. Far more young people in care live with foster families than in children's homes. The transitions from children's home to foster care, between foster families, and to independent living involve not only changes of place but enormous changes in status and role from child to adult.
Research has shown that many young people in need of care have experienced multiple moves and that the support offered before, during and after leaving care may be far from adequate (Marsh, 1997; Department of Health, 2001).