Advice for Caregivers: Tips to Help Your Loved One Adjust to Life in a Nursing Home
David Bowie had a good point when he sang about turning to face our major life “ch-ch-ch-changes”.
Unfortunately, change isn’t always easy to deal with. And as a caregiver to an aging relative, one of the biggest life changes you’ll face is moving them into a nursing home.
But have no fear! Because life for your loved one in a skilled nursing facility can be full and happy. And there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier.
Keep reading for some essential tips to help your loved one adjust to life in a nursing home.
Share What You Know
It’s important that you keep the lines of communication between you and the nursing home staff. Before your loved one moves in, make sure to give their new caregivers a rundown of what they like and dislike.
Write down their current daily schedule. Include a general timeframe for when they wake and when they go to bed. Note when they like to eat and when they usually take their medications. And it’s especially important to let the nursing home staff know their hobbies.
The more information you can give them, the better. This information gives the staff a better idea of how to talk to and interact with your family member. And this is invaluable for a smooth transition from home care to a nursing facility.
Although nursing homes are full of people, it’s easy for seniors to feel lonely. Especially if they don’t get visitors very often. Keep up with a regular visitation schedule to help them adjust to the new living situation.
Visits don’t need to be long or drawn out. Even if you can only stay for a few minutes, your loved one will greatly appreciate it. While you’re visiting, encourage them to get involved with the different social activities available at the nursing home.
When they first move in, plan to attend certain activities, such as appreciation dinners and music nights. It can be hard for people in a new situation to make new friends and associate with other residents. If you’re there for them in the beginning, they’ll feel more comfortable going to these fun events by themselves in the future.
Ask Their Opinion
One of the biggest issues that people face when they move into a skilled nursing facility is that they feel like they’re losing control over their living situation. Help combat this by asking them to give you feedback about the care they are receiving. Let them get involved in their care plan.
Discuss the care plan with the nursing home staff and let your relative sit in on these discussions. This way, you can find out what they like and dislike about the facility. And this information will help the nursing home staff to better care for your family member.
Bring a Little Piece of Home
Although their new room at the nursing home isn’t as big as a house, there is still plenty of room to customize. Bring their favorite photographs from home and ask the staff to hang them on the walls.
Instead of buying new bedding, consider using the bedding from their bed at home to make them feel more comfortable. If your relative has a collection of knick-knacks or books that they love, bring those along too.
Ask the facility about rearranging the furniture in the room so they can have a better view of the window. Also, bring in their own bath toiletries. These items are small, but they can make a big difference in helping them feel more comfortable in their new home.
Advice for Caregivers
Life in a nursing home doesn’t have to mean staying in bed all day. With these tips, you can help your loved one adjust quickly to their new environment. And give them the confidence they need to branch out and enjoy their time in a long-term care facility.
At St. William’s Living Center, we offer a full calendar of activities each month. These activities are geared toward meeting the social and emotional needs of our residents. Visit our website to check out our activities calendar and plan your next visit with your loved one!