Transitioning To A Nursing Home
Moving into to a nursing home or care home can be very challenging, both for you and your loved one. Care homes and nursing homes can seem very daunting to an older person whose only knowledge about them comes from hearsay or news reports. If you have been providing care yourself, you may experience feelings of guilt at no longer being able to manage. Careful preparation can help to make the move much easier for everyone involved.
Preparing for Moving into a Care Home
If possible, take your loved one to visit the care homes you have shortlisted so that they can feel they have participated in choosing their future home. Discuss with them what they will want to take with them when they move in. They will be able to take favourite photographs and any ornaments they are fond of as well as soft furnishings that will help them to feel at home. Sometimes they will be able to have their favourite easy chair, and they may also want a TV and a telephone or other means of keeping in touch with family members.
The First Day
Most nursing homes will be happy for you to stay with your loved one and get them settled into their new room. It can be difficult when you finally walk away, but your relative will need to meet the staff and other residents and will probably need to rest too.
You may feel quite empty, particularly if you have been providing the care for them, so plan how you are going to cope on the first day without your loved one.
The First Week
Both you and your relative may feel rather confused initially while you get used to the changes in routine. Your loved one may ask if they can come home every time you visit, and explaining why this is impossible can be difficult. It is probably best to simply acknowledge their feelings and suggest perhaps having a cup of tea or a little walk around. Although you may find the situation difficult, it is important to remain positive and support your loved one. You may also need support from family and friends during this time.
This is a good time to get used to the routines of the care home so that you can establish the best times to visit. If you find visits too exhausting, perhaps you could ask another family member to help sometimes.
If you think of any questions, make a note of them so that they can be raised at your relative’s care plan meeting.
The First Month
During the first month you and your loved one will settle into a familiar routine. You will both get to know the environment and the people around, and any initial concerns should have been addressed. The initial care plan meeting will be held after about a fortnight, so this gives you an opportunity to sort out any problems that arise.
Most nursing homes will do everything they can to meet your loved one’s needs, and it is worth mentioning any concerns so that your relative settles comfortably into the life of the home.