How to Help Ease the Transition to a Nursing Home

The overall goal of a nursing home is to keep the resident safe – especially if they may not have the safety or care in their own home. This could be for a number of reasons including frequent falls, inability to move around freely, forgetfulness, food, and cooking safety, or a developing illness or disease.

While the transition may be different, it’s important to consider their needs.  Caregiving is a full-time job and it can take a mental toll on the ones providing care.  It may not be feasible any longer or the care needed exceeds the skills and the caregivers’ abilities to ensure safety.

It is important you show your loved one you are there for them through this transition phase from their own space to a shared space.  Here are a few ways to make it easier on your loved one:

Personal Items                

Fill their space with personal items from their previous living arrangements.  It can be pictures, furniture, their favorite blanket, activities that they enjoy doing, or maybe something of significant meaning to them such as a gift from a loved one. 

Encourage Sociability

All nursing homes will have activities available to their residents.  Take a look at the activities calendar with your loved one and see what piques their interest.  Could it be a gardening session, games, a book club, or a chat with some coffee?  Encouraging social activities can help keep the feelings of depression away.

Visitation Time

There are visiting hours available at all nursing homes – so check to see during the initial tour when they are.  There are places residents can sit with their family members to spend time together including their room, a dining area, an outdoor area, or an activity area.  If they are still relatively mobile, you can take your loved one out for lunch or accompany them to a doctor’s appointment.  By showing up, you give them the sense of caring they need during this transition phase.

Give an Ear

Sometimes your loved one will just need to be heard.  There is not always a need for a solution, but to have someone to listen to show that you are there for their support.  You may need to encourage them to talk with you so they do not feel as if they are burdening you with their grievances. 

Transitions can be hard for anyone but as long as your loved one has the proper support and encouragement from you they will settle in.  They can be encouraged that this was an important move to ensure their health and safety.  Speak with the care staff and let them know if their loved one is having a difficult time in their new setting.  After all, they are family and the staff wants them to feel at home and cared for as a new resident in our facility.