When an elder first moves into a care home he or she is bound to experience feelings of insecurity, loneliness and nervousness having to deal with new surroundings and a new group of people. To make the final move easier you could ask if the care home could let the elder have a trial stay in the home to get familiar with the setup. Knowing it is only for a short period, the elder will be able to face the many eventual changes with more confidence and less nervousness.
Helpful suggestions when moving in
When deciding to send a loved one to nursing care homes it would be a good idea to send along some of his or her favourite items such as a family photograph, a well-worn armchair, a pillow, cushion or other such items. This will help the loved one not to feel too cut off from all that is familiar and will help with mental adjustment.
Before moving in you could let the staff know about any particular likes or dislikes the elder has. Would he or she like meals served in the room, listen to particular type of music or maybe spend time outdoors when the weather permits. The elder’s medical requirements, if any, should also be informed to the staff in case of any emergency.
Giving the elder a phone for personal use will help him or her to keep in regular touch with family and loved ones. It will definitely help to reduce the feeling of being ‘sent away’ from the family nest.
After moving in
Once the elder has settled in nursing care homes, he or she should be taken around to get familiar with the care home setup. Introductions should also be made to as many of the other home inmates as possible. In time the elder will make closer contacts with those inmates he or she might find more conducive to spend time with.
The elder should be encouraged to take part in all the social and other activities that the care home organizes. Such activities could include home parties, outdoor visits such as picnics or tours, elders’ meetings, church activities, etc. All the above activities are organized so that the elders have something to look forward to and not get bogged down in an uneventful daily routine.
If the elder has a particular hobby such as knitting, reading, doing crossword puzzles, gardening etc., they should be encouraged to continue with the hobby. It is an activity they are familiar with and will provide comfort if loneliness attacks.
Elders should be encouraged to speak up if they have any complaints with regard to the care home services or facilities. They should voice their complaint to the care home management and the same would definitely be taken care of.
After settling in both physically and mentally, family and friends should visit the elder at regular intervals. Such continued contact will help the elder to mentally accept the family’s decision of sending them to nursing care homes.