Tips For Helping Seniors Transition to Nursing Home Care
The majority of aging adults over the age of 65 prefer to spend the remainder of their years at home in their own environment, but unfortunately this isn’t a feasible option for everyone. Now, more than ever, the number of senior adults facing the decision to move into a long term care facility is greater than ever thanks to a rapidly aging population. If you are a family member or caregiver of a senior adult who may be contemplating this decision, there are things you can do to help make this transition in life easier and smoother for your senior loved one.
Below are tips to help your senior loved transition from at home care to nursing home care.
Find the facility that is the best fit for your loved one.
There may be lots of nursing home community options available around the country, but they are not all created equal. It’s vital to do your research, visit any facility that interests you, and talk with both the staff and administration about any concerns or questions you may have.
If it’s important to your senior loved one to bring items from home or prepare meals on their own, you should make sure this is something they are allowed to do before making any final decisions. If the facility you are visiting provides a warm, welcoming environment that makes you feel comfortable and at ease, chances are your loved one will feel the same. The same goes for a facility that feels cold and sterile because your family member may not feel at home there.
Listen and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings.
When seniors are allowed to express their thoughts and feelings about a community, they are much more likely to be less stressed during the transition because they feel like their concerns and opinions matter, as opposed to feeling helpless and out of control of their own lives. It’s important to include them, if they are able, during the research phase as well as facility visitation and allow them to be more engaged in the process. After all, no one wants to feel that all of their life decisions are being made for them.
Stay active with visitations.
One of the most common concerns for a senior transitioning into nursing home care is the fear of being abandoned or isolated. Even when family members have decided to place their loved one into a long term care nursing facility, it’s important that the senior still feels loved and wanted by the people they care about the most. Regular and frequent visits should begin as soon as the senior family member is settled into their new home. Regular visits help the family members just as much as the senior by allowing them to monitor the level and quality of care administered to their loved one. While some rare instances may require you to stop visits temporarily, like the recent coronavirus pandemic, facilities that have “no contact” policies should be an immediate red flag.
Encourage your loved one to be actively engaged in their new community.
One of the best ways to help a senior not only transition into a new community, but also help them to thrive, is by encouraging them to be active and involved with the members of their new community. A new environment can be overwhelming and intimidating for anyone, and the most simple way to help encourage them to become involved is to accompany them on their first few outings or engagements. When seniors participate in group activities and outings, share meals with others, or spend time with others in social gatherings they will adjust to their new surroundings quicker and with less stress. The longer they put off involving themselves in the community, the harder it will become, so encourage them to become actively involved as soon as possible.
Help them create the feeling of home.
Home is not only a structure where we reside, it is also the material objects that surround us, reminding us of what our lives have been about. When forced to leave behind cherished mementos, seniors may have a harder time transitioning into their new environment. Hanging family photos, bringing a favorite blanket or other treasured items from home will help to create a familiar and comfortable home like atmosphere for loved ones who may feel lost without these items.
Always keep in mind that although your loved one’s living situation may have changed, your relationship with them should not. It’s important to stay engaged in their lives, even after they move into a care facility.
At Elderberry Health Care, we offer a comprehensive range of services for residents needing skilled nursing care. We are committed to helping our residents and families understand care options and services. We pride ourselves on personalized care to every resident, treating each person as we would treat our own loved ones. Our highly skilled professional staff provides compassionate care 24 hours a day, providing families with peace of mind that their loved one is safe and cared for. Contact us today for more information.