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Important Ways to Help Your Loved One Adjust to a Nursing Home

A medley of emotions usually accompanies the newly-arrived nursing home resident. These feelings might include a sense of loss, thoughts of anger, or sensations of fear. Listed below are some helpful tips to ease the resident into a more comfortable mind frame.

Visiting: Provide your loved one a few days without you to become familiar with the new surroundings. After that, visit as often as your schedule will allow, and try to remain upbeat. Residents look forward to visits! Still, if a loved one has plans to participate in an activity, respect the fact that he or she may not be available (and do not take it personally). Planning ahead can help.

Phone Calls: Residents enjoy phone calls, even if the conversation is only for a minute or so. Calls can help your loved one feel connected to his or her support base.

Bring Valued Items: Bring along your loved one’s valued possessions (taking into consideration space constraints). A discolored hanky might not mean much to most people but could be a fond remembrance of your loved one’s childhood.

Listen: Sometimes people just need to talk. Should your loved one repeat the same narrative several times, or cry, or seem angry, try to maintain an understanding ear. Allowing people to express their emotions validates their sense of worth.

Furnish Staff with Supplementary Information: If your family member plays the piano, or loves Broadway musicals, or was an avid golfer, inform the staff. This information could provide positive conversation based on the interest of the resident.

Support Activities and Friends: Encourage your loved one to make friends and participate in activities. Humans are social by nature. Positively interacting with other residents supports well-being. If your loved one is religious, perhaps encourage him or her to participate in religious services.

Inform Family and Friends about the New Address: Send out notes cards to family members and friends concerning your loved one’s address change. Residents enjoy receiving cards and letters!

Most people will undergo an adjustment period when transferring to a nursing facility. Still, family and friends can help the transition become less stressful. By remaining positive, maintaining an empathic ear, and keeping a consistent presence, you can assist your loved one in more readily acclimating to his/her new environment.