Easing The Transition To Residential Care
Moving from your own home, or your family home into residential care can be a somewhat traumatic experience for anyone. So, how can you help your loved one's transition go as seamlessly as possible?
The Initial Talk
Sometimes, the hardest part, is that initial conversation with your loved one. How can you start a conversation about them moving into residential care without causing upset?
For some, this will be a welcome conversation as they no longer feel able to care for themselves or want to be a burden on their family.
As part of this conversation, you can consider the suggestion of a respite stay to see how comfortable they would feel in the home. This will also allow them to try out respite in a selection of homes to find the right fit.
Tour Of The Care Home
You may want to come and have a tour of your chosen care home prior to bringing your loved ones on a tour. This can help you get a feel for the home and how good the fit may be before increasing the level of stress and anxiety that may occur when bringing your loved one for a look around.
Sometimes it's not always possible for your loved ones to come for a visit. If they are currently unwell or in hospital care, their first visit may be their move-in date. At our homes, we endeavour to have as many visual aids as possible to ease this. With some homes having virtual tours, and others having a wealth of images for your loved ones to look at.
The packing of the home can be a difficult part of the move. As they wave goodbye to belongings that they may never see again. Where possible, allow your loved one to be a part of this process.
This can help them to say goodbye to the belongings that they cannot move with. Not to mention choose the key items that will make their room feel like home.
However, we understand that this is not always possible. If you are packing belongings without them, try to choose their most cherished items to bring to the home. From little family trinkets to nice pictures that they can use to decorate their rooms.
For some, the journey will take place within a patient transport service vehicle. Whether they are moving from sheltered living, a hospital setting, or are struggling to mobilise. In many cases, a family member will be able to travel with them. This can help make the journey less stressful.
If you are able to bring your loved one in your own vehicle, ensure they are happy with this. Some may resent the family for this as they consider this the "last taste of freedom" which is not how you want them to feel as they enter a new home. However, others prefer this as it makes them feel less like a patient being moved.
Entering The Home
Typically we like to move new residents into their rooms when there are fewer people around. This allows them to enter their new space without too much stress of meeting new people. They can then spend time in their new room, unpacking or sitting with family while they settle.
Some residents find the transition easier if they unpack right away. Others are reluctant to unpack as they do not agree that they will be staying long term. This can be difficult for the family to see, but over time the resident will become more understanding of the situation.
Meeting And Greeting
New residents will never be forced to interact and meet new people until they are ready to. For some, they will meet a few members of the care team, then gradually want to leave their room. For others, they want to come straight out and interact with other residents.
However, there are a number that takes a great deal longer to want to interact. Sometimes, this might be with some light intervention from the team. We will encourage them to come and take part in activities that suit their interests, allowing them to meet like-minded people.
If this still doesn't work, we will look to buddy them up with someone from a similar background, who they can get to know to ease them into residential life.
It Doesn't End There
So your loved one may have met new people and joined in with activities, but this by no means show that they are settled in. Regular visits, care packages, and phone calls can help them ease in a little more.
You never want your loved one to feel as though they have been dumped into the care home and forgotten about. We know that you have a busy life too, but please remember this is a big change for them and need to know you are still there for them!
If you arent too local, regular care packages of their favourite treats, papers, magazines, books, activities and even family photos are a good way of letting them know you care.
Here at Lovett Care, we have spent many years seeing people move into our homes. And no two are the same. This means that we treat each new resident as a complete individual as they move into their new residential home.
We use the knowledge that we have built up over the years to help them ease and settle in as best as possible. Whether this takes a few days or a few weeks, we let them go at their own pace.
We encourage you to visit as often as possible without it being overpowering to your loved ones. So as we get to know them, we get to know you too.
For more information on a respite stay, or just a tour around our care homes please contact the Lovett Care team, or speak to the care home directly.