Early autumn is full of talk about “Empty Nest Syndrome”. It is typically the time of year when young people head off to university or to a new job or perhaps to travel around the world. Whatever the circumstance, the impact of young adults leaving the home – even on a temporary basis – can result in parents feeling unsettled and as if part of them is missing. When your day has revolved around providing high quality care for the needs of others for so many years it can leave you at a loss when those needs are suddenly absent. New boundaries have to be established and adjustments made to all the established domestic routines.

This Empty Nest Syndrome is all the more acute for parents of children with learning disabilities or other complex health needs. Such parents have usually cared for the basic needs of their child for many years longer than most parents need to, and the absence of that child hits hard. If the child has gone into some kind of specialist care home, then the parent may also feel tremendous guilt at being party to that decision.

BBC Ouch is a forum run by an award-winning team of disabled journalists – Emma Tracey and Damon Rose – with help from guest contributors who all have personal connections to disability. Ouch explores the disability world in blog posts and a monthly internet radio talk show. Ouch goes behind the headlines of disability news, and also lifts the lid on the little details about being disabled that are not widely talked about.

Ouch recently featured the issue of how parents feel when their child with complex health needs goes to stay in a specialist care home. “When we left him that first day, he looked at me as if to say ‘give me a kiss goodbye’ and I was overwhelmed by a physical pain in my heart and chest,” says Pat Jennings, whose 24-year-old severely autistic son Peter has been living in sheltered accommodation for almost two years.

Whilst it is always difficult to be parted from your son or daughter, parents of children with specialist care needs can face the particular difficulty of their child not being able to communicate or understand new information. Even though the move is going to be beneficial for their son or daughter, going through the process can be heart breaking. By admitting they need help, many parents are likely to feel guilty and wonder if there was not more they could have done to help their child.

At Freedom Care we totally understand the complexity of feelings and emotions when deciding whether or not to seek residential care for a much-loved son or daughter. This can be made even more complicated by the fact that some people view specialist care homes with a certain stigma, as if they indicate some kind of failure by the parents. We challenge anyone with this view to pay a visit to one of our specialist care homes to experience for themselves the homely atmosphere that we pride ourselves on, along with the exceptionally high quality care that people with complex health needs deserve.

One thing we have found at Freedom Care is that best way of easing any guilt is to see how well your son or daughter responds in one of our specialised care homes. You can read here on our website many testimonials to our person-centered approach and its benefits to our service users. One of the quotes we love is: “It has taken our family many years to find a good care home, having applied and been to over three homes it was a great relief for us as a family and our son to find an understanding, small and home like environment as opposed to an institutional care home. Freedom Care are understanding and confident enough to face unknown challenges, we feel the personal atmosphere provided by Freedom care is what makes it an excellent service”.

If you would like to find out more about Freedom Care’s specialist care homes and person-centered approach, why not contact us today? We’d be delighted to help you further.

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