How to Cope with a Loved One Moving into Residential Care
There may come a time when you realise that your loved one should be moving into residential care. If you are not sure that this would be the best option, there are a few indicators that they are not coping so well at home. These could include things like not changing their clothes, unexplained bruises on their body, unopened mail and out-of-date food in the refrigerator. However, there are other options you could explore before making the decision to raise the possibility of moving to a residential care home with them, and it is important to look at all the possible solutions to the problem.
Your loved one may simply need the extra support provided by regular homecare to be able to remain in their own home safely. Regular visits may be enough to ensure that they are properly nourished and that their personal care and hygiene are satisfactory. There are ways that even people with fairly advanced dementia can be prompted to take their medication regularly, prepare meals safely and live independent lives.
Sometimes, however, there are circumstances when the safety of your loved one is severely compromised. They may be having regular falls despite all the interventions you have tried, or they may simply feel lonely and nervous on their own. This is when admission to residential care should be considered. If you are the caregiver, then your own health and well-being should be considered, as should that of the rest of the family, however distressing you may find the prospect of moving your loved one into a residential care home.
It is important to involve your loved one in discussions about the future. Arranging to visit various possible homes together will allow you to observe how your parent or other loved one seems to feel in each home and whether the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. If you are concerned about how they will settle and fit into the home, you can discuss which items they wish to bring into the care home. Photos of family and friends, loved ornaments or even a favourite cushion can all help to make their new environment more homely.
Many residential care homes welcome family members into the home to share meals or social activities with their loved one, and as long as they are well enough, you should be able to take them out for regular trips or even just home for a meal. Helping them to maintain links with the wider community, such as church groups or clubs, will also make the move into residential care less traumatic.
Remember that it is normal to feel a sense of guilt or failure if the time comes that your loved one needs residential care and that it is all right to be upset. It is important that you realise when residential care is the best and safest option for your loved one. Once settled in, they will probably be happier and more comfortable surrounded by other people like them and being supported by trained and caring staff. This can also help to put your mind at rest.