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Planning for a life-stage transition – Assessing where to begin

It’s the beginning of June and in about eight months time one of my family members will be in the midst of a life-stage transition. What do I mean by life-stage? A transition that takes a person into a new stage of life. A new stage of experiences and routines. A new stage that leaves much of the familiarity of the past behind.

Knowing how much this family member craves predictability, routine and sameness, our planning and transitioning has already begun – because the impact of the changeover won’t be small and needs to be handled with great care. We need to make sure we’re providing the best chance of success.

So where do you begin with planning? When do you start? How long will you need? How do you know what will be best for the person transitioning?

When we’re supporting anyone through transition, we always start with the impact assessment. What do we know about this person? What has been their experience of transition or change in the past? How do they generally cope with new things or being around new people? What are their executive functioning skills like (eg. ability to plan, organise themselves or switch focus)?

This is where we put the one-size fits all approach to the side. It’s about understanding the person, their individual needs, and working forward from there. We focus our attention on what’s needed and we save ourselves from planning strategies and supports that may not be necessary.

If you support someone who will be moving into a transition period in the coming months, take some time to think about the potential impact of the change. The better prepared you are, the better off everyone will be.

Written by Elissa Plumridge

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