Preparing for a nursing home can be a very emotional experience. While older adults may prefer to spend their lives in their own homes, increasing health challenges may require skilled nursing care. This transition can be very difficult for both the senior as well as family members. There are proactive steps to make the transition a bit easier.
Research skilled nursing care options before it is necessary
Too often a senior may need to transition to a skilled nursing facility following an accident or a health emergency. In these instances, decisions can be rushed and important considerations may be overlooked. That’s why it’s important to discuss preparing for a nursing home before an emergency arises. That allows the senior to be part of the research process to select a provider the best fits the individual’s needs and lifestyle. Be sure to tour your top choices and talk to staff members to choose the right fit.
Include your loved one in the decision when preparing for a nursing home
One of the biggest objections seniors have when preparing for a nursing home is the perceived loss of control and independence. To avoid this, provide the senior an opportunity to evaluate options, be part of tours and talk to nursing home staff members. Discuss pros and cons to each facility and listen to their input to make the final decision together.
Make a checklist
If your loved one is preparing for a nursing home and is moving from a private home, there may be several items you may need to do to facilitate the move. These might include changing mail service, arranging foster care for pets, paying bills or even preparing to sell the home. Making a list of items will help you manage the work. Click here for ideas to start your list.
Reach out to the facility to find out what is provided in the room. Most skilled nursing care facilities furnish a bed and nightstand, and some may provide televisions. If your loved one enjoys watching television, be sure to check whether or not one will be provided.
Since the space will be much smaller than most private homes, pack necessities when moving to a nursing home. Also pack a few small items that are meaningful to the senior such as a family photo, scrapbook or a digital photo frame. The facility will most likely offer WiFi service. If the individual is tech savvy, bring an iPad and cell phone. This will help maintain connections with family and friends.
If possible, make your loved one part of the shopping process to choose blankets or other small comfort items for their new room.
There are several additional factors to keep in mind to make the transition easier. Click here for tips.
To make sure your loved one feels more at home, tell the staff about the person’s likes and dislikes. Make a list that includes interests, food preferences and hobbies. Having this information will help staff members get to know your loved one and provide individualized care.
Help your loved one adapt to the new living environment
When preparing for a nursing home, consider your loved one’s ability to adapt to the new living environment after the move. Sometimes a resident may struggle in a new living arrangement, but after an adjustment period, many begin to adapt. Listen to your loved one if they choose to share thoughts and concerns about their new living situation. Simply being heard can help seniors adjust to their new accommodations.
Encourage social engagement
One of the factors you may have considered is the calendar of activities and entertainment. Engaging in social activities helps promote happiness and helps residents meet new people and make friends. Encourage your loved one to stay busy with friends and participate in group activities. These actions can positively affect a person’s sense of self-worth as well as happiness.
We’re here to help.
Country Meadows offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation care at our Bethlehem, Pa., location. All Country Meadows locations offer memory support, personal care and independent Living at nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact our team for more information about how we can support you or a loved one. Our co-workers are always available to help!