Moving a Loved One into a Nursing Home.
Deciding to move your loved one into a nursing home is a big deal. It’s something that many of us dread, and wish we didn’t have to do. Even if you have the financial means to move your loved one into an amazing resort-style facility, it still isn’t an easy thing to do.
There comes a certain point where you have to admit to yourself that you are aware that you can no longer give your loved one the best care they deserve. However, there are plenty of nursing home facilities that will make this scary transition as easy as possible for you and your loved one. If you know what to expect, this process just might be a bit easier.
Choosing the Best Facility
Before you decide on a place for your loved one to live, visit the nursing home and see for yourself where they will be living. This way you can make sure the facility is as home-like and caring as possible.
You’ll want to choose a place that allows your loved one to bring their own things and mementos. This will help them feel at ease and more comfortable after such a big change. You’ll want your loved one to feel free to make some personal touches to their new home.
Here are some ideas that can help your loved-one transition easier and make them feel more at home:
- Add family photos and collages
- Bring things that your loved one collected or made
- Often bring fresh flowers or fun, colorful artwork to brighten up the room
- Change up the decor of their room with the changing seasons/holidays
- Have you loved one keep magazines, books, or pre-recorded tapes to listen to
- If not provided, bring your loved one’s computer, tablet, or TV
That At-Home Feeling
Even after making your loved one feel at home, it still may not be the happily ever after you were hoping for. The entire process can be incredibly emotionally draining for you and your loved one.
They may be upset and angry with you for placing them there, and this could cause some guilt. You and your loved one will both need some time to adjust. Here are some ways to help counter that negative energy and make the situation more positive for everyone:
- Make sure you are really hearing your loved one’s complaints. Just dismissing their validity can lead to even bigger issues
- Understand that they may just want you to be there to listen to their concerns with no judgment and provide support
- Keep an eye out for non-verbal cues. You loved one may become depressed, hostile, withdrawn, or anxious.
- Even if their concerns don’t actually seem legitimate, make sure you are present and actually listen to their words. Give meaningful responses and let them know that you are actually listening.
- Don’t assume that the problem will just go away. It may take a long time for your loved one to come to terms with their new home, so give them time and respect their hesitations.
Develop a Routine
A lot of people find routines comforting and reassuring. Setting up a visitation routine with your loved one at the facility can really help you both with the stressful transition. Talk it over with your loved one and schedule times to visit. They may be up for more social activities are different times, so check with them to make sure it works for their schedules.
In addition, nursing homes often have activities for your loved ones to participate in. These activities can range from outdoor adventures to bingo, and even arts and crafts. You won’t want to intrude on their fun times for your loved one, so make sure you understand their schedule before you just drop in.
When placing your loved one into a nursing home, you both have to realize that you may not be able to physically see them as often as you did before. People have busy schedules, and sometimes emergencies pop up. Thankfully these days, there are many technological substitutes that can serve as alternatives when you can’t make your scheduled visit:
- FaceTime on the phone, computer, or tablet
- Have just a regular phone call
- Mail handwritten notes or greeting cards
- Have flowers delivered as a surprise
- Share digital photos
- Send an email
Even though these seem like small things, it can really mean a great deal to your loved one, and let them know how much you really care.
Moving your loved one into a nursing home facility can be a challenging and daunting ordeal. It’s a brand new environment, a new daily routine, new people, and new rules. Even though this can be a stressful and emotional time, there are steps and ideas that will help you and your loved one get through this transition together.
The information and list provided above are not meant to be exhaustive, these are only suggestions for how to make a loved ones transition into a nursing home more comfortable.
Aging Care, “Moving Into a Nursing Home: A Checklist” Retrieved from: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/moving-into-a-nursing-home-a-checklist-209625.htm. January 27, 2018.
Care Conversations, “Transition to Care” Retrieved from: https://careconversations.org/transition-care. January 27, 2018.