Use of Family Life Review with Older Adults and Families Adjusting to the Late Life Transition of Relocation

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Virginia Tech

Late life relocation for the purpose of receiving care may be one of the more challenging transitions for older adults because of being uprooted from their long-time home and the perceived loss of independence. Of available supportive housing options for older adults, assisted living facilities are growing in popularity. A family life review intervention, with an older adult resident and a selected family member, was facilitated to support older adults transition to assisted living through mutual storytelling and acceptance. Sixteen dyads participated in one, ninety-minute family life review (FLR) session. A semi-structured follow up interview was conducted approximately one month later to explore the perspective of families on participating in FLR during a relocation transition. Emergent themes (e.g., raising emotions in families, seeing self in systems, and navigating the relocation transition) suggest that FLR facilitated positive connections and enhanced existing relationships, ameliorated older adults negative feelings, and promoted an acceptance of self and new family narratives. Participating in the FLR allowed dyads to reflect, during and after the session, on their resilience earlier in life and how this resilience prompted an easier recovery to some of the more challenging components of the relocation transition (e.g., relational challenges with decision making, disagreements with the ALF). Personal and relational factors including the older adults physical health status, mental health concerns (e.g., depression and loneliness), and family involvement and dynamics impacted families experience and openness during the FLR as well as their perspective of the overall intervention process. Avenues for future research and clinical implications include randomized control trials testing the effectiveness of FLR on relationship satisfaction, coping, decision-making, and individual outcomes (e.g., depression, loneliness, life satisfaction) and using family challenges as opportunities for reconciliation and promoting resilience.

life review, older adults, assisted living, relocation