Fighting ‘Transfer Trauma’ with Assisted Living Options

Fighting ‘Transfer Trauma’ with Assisted Living Options

Every day, seniors in SW Houston are relocated to new homes, hospital units, or assisted living facilities as their budgets, health status, and needs change.

When properly managed, these transitions can be a breath of fresh air that opens up new , companionship, and independence.

But when mismanaged, relocation can lead to “relocation stress syndrome” (RSS), which is characterized by anxiety, confusion, and loneliness.

Today’s post explains exactly what’s at stake, and how the Always Best care Katy team can help.

Understanding The Demands Of Senior Relocation

According to the Medical Care Research and Review journal, seniors experience four types of relocation (Castle, 2001, p. 293):

  1. Inter-institutional, which refers to the movement from one institution to another, as when a senior moves from a Katy, Texas hospital to a SW Houston care home or assisted living center;
  2. Intra-Institutional, which refers to movement within a facility, as when an aging parent is moved from one room to another, or reassigned to another floor;
  3. Residential relocation, which refers to the movement from one residence to another, as when a senior moves from their home residence to another private residence;
  4. Residential or institutional relocation, which refers to any instances where the individual is moved from a residence to an institution or vice versa, as when a senior moves from their home into an assisted living community.

Of these types of relocation, residential or institutional relocation is typically the most jarring, since it is associated with the greatest amount of long-term lifestyle change.

Nevertheless, Always Best Care Katy has stepped in to help on all fronts, offering a wide range of caregiving and support solutions to mitigate the risks of transfer trauma for your loved one.

The Risks Of Transfer Trauma When Moving InTo Assisted Living Centers

Researchers and practitioners have been aware of the dangers associated with relocating the elderly for several decades. In that time, several terms have been used to describe the effects of relocation, including transfer trauma, relocation stress, admission stress, relocation shock, and transplantation shock (Castle, 2001, p. 291-292).

Whichever term you choose, the effects need to be taken seriously. According to the Medical Care Research and Review journal, shuffling a loved one between different care settings in Katy, Texas puts them at higher risk of:

  • Mortality;
  • Physiological decline;
  • Psychological distress;
  • Depression.

Fighting ‘Transfer Trauma’ With Assisted Living Solutions

The emergence of integrated care companies and assisted living services has helped mitigate the risks of transfer trauma by enabling “more fluid movement of patients between providers” (Castle, 2001, p. 292). Simply put, relocations are much less stressful when you’ve got a trusted friend and care provider helping you through, offering reassurance, and accompanying you to social events to break the ice in your new community. Plus having an extra pair of hands for the move never hurts!

Fighting ‘Transfer Trauma’ With Assisted Living Referrals And Research

Several studies have begun to push back against “transfer trauma” and other negative nomenclature (Cutler & Garner, 1995; Perry et al., 2013).

These studies identify a number of positive effects associated with relocation of the elderly, many of which are attributed to proper vetting at the assisted living center selection stage.

Simply put, those who take the time to research, tour, and seek referrals to quality assisted living centers generally experience fewer symptoms related to transfer trauma. This is because their direct involvement fights feelings of confusion or helplessness, while diligent research and quality referrals increase the likelihood of their finding communities and activities they want to be involved with.

You can learn more about our free assisted living referral services in Katy, Texas by clicking here.


Castle, N. G. (2001). Relocation of the elderly. Medical Care Research and Review, 58(3), 291-333.

Cutler, L., & Garner, M. (1995). Reducing relocation stress after discharge from the intensive therapy unit. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 11(6), 333-335.

Perry, T. E., Andersen, T. C., & Kaplan, D. B. (2013). Relocation remembered: Perspectives on senior transitions in the living environment. The Gerontologist, 54(1), 75-81.

Posted In: Senior Care