There are over 1.3 million nursing homes in the U.S. While that sounds like a lot, by the year 2030 over 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65, which may make the total number of nursing home’s inadequate for the growing need.
While this is true, this isn’t the case today. If you have decided that it is time for your senior loved one to move to a care facility, you may find this transition is more challenging for them than you initially thought it would be.
If you want to help your elderly loved one settle into their new home, the tips here can help. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Find the Right Community
One of the first things you need to understand is that not all nursing homes are created equal. You need to put some time and effort into finding the right one for your senior loved one.
Do research, visit the locations you are considering, and talk with administrators and staff about everything from what residents can bring with them to the meals and activities.
If you find a facility that feels warm and welcoming, your senior loved one will probably feel the same. However, if the location seems sterile and cold, this will not be a positive environment for your loved one.
2. Bring Along Familiar Items
When it is time to move, it’s a good idea to bring along items familiar to your loved one. While space in most nursing homes is limited, it’s still important to bring several things along that are recognizable.
For example, instead of purchasing a new bedspread for your mom’s new room, take the one from their bed at home. Do they have a special picture on the wall? If so, ask the facility if you can hang it in their room.
Take some time to think about what’s important to your senior loved one and then integrate those items into their new home. You can find out more about this here.
3. Be Present
For many seniors, their biggest fear when moving to a nursing home is being isolated from the people they love. One of the best ways to help them overcome this fear is to visit often.
Remember, regular visits don’t just benefit residents of the nursing home. It also allows you to monitor your loved one’s care and their progress in their new home.
4. Provide Plenty of Information About Your Loved One
You know your senior loved one. You know their history, likes and dislikes, favorite food, and more. This is all the information you need to share with the nursing home staff.
Sometimes, the nursing home administrators will schedule a meeting after admission to find out more about the senior. If this doesn’t happen, request to have a meeting with the staff to discuss your senior’s needs.
At this meeting, you can decide what you want to share with them. For example, what is the best time of the day for a shower, and what the individual’s nickname is? By sharing these small things, the senior loved one will respond more positively to the staff and the staff to the senior since they know them as a person, rather than just another patient.
5. Encourage Involvement
Jumping into a new living environment is often intimidating. However, there is no better way to help your senior loved one feel good and have fun than by encouraging them to get involved.
This includes eating in the dining hall with everyone else, taking part in group activities, and just talking with other residents. Your loved one will feel more like themselves again when they are engaged with the world around them.
It’s also important to know the longer a senior goes without becoming involved, the harder it will be for them to do so in the future. One of the best ways to help your senior overcome hesitation is by going with them in the beginning.
6. Don’t Take Them Out Until They are Adjusted
You may feel compelled to take your loved one out for a drive or on a similar outing shortly after they have moved in. However, it’s usually better for your loved one to get into a new day-to-day routine and feel settled before doing that.
By giving your loved one more time to adjust to their new home, they will become happier in the long run.
7. It May be Harder for the Senior’s Family
Sometimes the transition for someone to a nursing home is more difficult for family members who are watching the process than it is for the person who is going through it. While you continue to wonder how your loved one is doing, if they are sleeping and eating well, and more, you may be tempted to intervene.
However, most times, the senior is already adjusted. Harness your worries, so they don’t transfer to your loved one when you are visiting.
Nursing Home Transition: The Tips Here Can Help
There’s no question that trying to transition a senior loved one to a nursing home can be challenging. However, with the tips here, it doesn’t have to be.
There are steps you can take to ensure they are happy and comfortable in their new home when you use this information. For more helpful information on senior health and happiness and a huge selection of other topics, continue reading our blog.