Coping with a Loved One in a Nursing Home

 In Moving into Care

Moving a loved one into a nursing home is a significant decision, often accompanied by a range of emotions for both the family and the resident. 

It’s natural to feel anxious, guilty, or worried about this transition. However, understanding how to cope with these feelings and knowing how to support your loved one can make this journey smoother for everyone involved.

Understanding Your Emotions

It’s common to experience a mix of emotions when a loved one moves into a nursing home. Recognising and accepting these feelings is the first step toward coping.

Common Emotions

  • Guilt: Feeling like you’ve let your loved one down or broken a promise to keep them at home. Here’s a guide about Overcoming the Guilt of Placing Your Loved One in a Nursing Home
  • Anxiety: Worrying about their wellbeing and how they will adjust to the new environment.
  • Relief: Acknowledging that professional care is necessary and can improve their quality of life.
  • Sadness: Mourning the change in your relationship and the loss of daily interactions.

Why These Feelings Are Normal

These emotions reflect your deep care and love for your family member. Remember, placing them in a nursing home is often the best decision for their health and safety, especially when their needs exceed what you can be provide at home.

Staying Connected

Maintaining a strong connection with your loved one is crucial for their emotional wellbeing and can help ease your feelings of guilt and anxiety.

Regular Visits

  • Schedule Consistent Visits: Plan regular visits to give your loved one something to look forward to.
  • Quality Time: Engage in activities they enjoy, like playing games, watching a favourite show, or simply chatting.

Communication

  • Phone Calls and Video Chats: Frequent calls or video chats can help maintain a sense of closeness, especially if you can’t visit in person regularly. 
  • Letters and Photos: Sending letters, cards, or photos can brighten their day and provide a tangible reminder of your care.

However, in the early days, try to let your loved one settle into their new environment. Constantly contacting them may promote feelings of homesickness at a crucial time for them. Give yourself and your loved one the opportunity to settle into a new routine and environment. 

Ensuring Quality Care

Feeling confident that your loved one is receiving the best possible care can significantly reduce your stress and anxiety.

Build Relationships with Staff

  • Get to Know the Caregivers: Building relationships with the nursing home staff can help ensure that your loved one receives personalised care.
  • Communicate Openly: Share important information about your loved one’s preferences, routines, and health needs with the staff.

Monitor Their Care

  • Regular Check-ins: Regularly check in on your loved one’s condition and the quality of care they are receiving.
  • Advocate for Them: Don’t hesitate to speak up if you notice any issues or if you have concerns about their care.

Here at Lidder Care, all of our care plans are person-centred and are actively reviewed and updated monthly with involvement from the resident and/or their family, or representative.

Coping Strategies for Yourself

Taking care of your own emotional health is essential. Here are some strategies to help you cope:

Seek Support

  • Support Groups: Join a support group for families with loved ones in nursing homes. Sharing experiences with others in similar situations can be incredibly comforting.
  • Counselling: Consider speaking with a therapist to help process your emotions and develop coping strategies.

Focus on Self-Care

  • Stay Active: Engage in physical activities you enjoy, such as walking, yoga, or gardening.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practise mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to manage stress.
  • Enjoy Hobbies: Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Helping Your Loved One Adjust

Supporting your loved one through their transition can make a significant difference in their adjustment to nursing home life.

Personalise Their Space

  • Familiar Items: Bring personal items from home, such as photos, favourite blankets, or decorations, to make their new space feel more familiar and comforting.
  • Comfort Items: Ensure they have items that provide comfort and a sense of security, such as a favourite chair or a well-loved book.

Encourage Social Interaction

  • Participate in Activities: Encourage your loved one to take part in social activities and events organised by the nursing home. This can help them make new friends and stay engaged.
  • Maintain Connections: Help them stay connected with family and friends through visits, calls, and letters.

Managing Difficult Emotions in Your Loved One

It’s normal for residents to feel sadness, anger, or anxiety during their transition to a care or nursing home. Here’s how you can help:

Listen and Validate

  • Acknowledge Their Feelings: Let your loved one express their emotions without judgement. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that it’s ok to feel this way.
  • Empathy and Support: Offer empathy and support. Sometimes, just knowing someone understands and cares can make a big difference.

Address Concerns

  • Identify Issues: Work with the nursing home staff to identify and address any specific issues causing distress, such as dietary preferences or daily routines.
  • Provide Reassurance: Reassure your loved one that they are loved and not forgotten. Regular communication and visits can reinforce this message.

It’s a Change for Everyone 

Transitioning a loved one into a nursing home is a significant life change that comes with its own set of challenges and emotions. 

By understanding and accepting your feelings, staying connected, ensuring quality care, and taking care of yourself, you can navigate this journey with more ease. 

Supporting your loved one in their adjustment and being proactive about their care will help them settle into their new home more comfortably.

At Lidder Care, we’re here to support both residents and their families through every step of this transition. 

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re committed to providing compassionate, high-quality care and ensuring your loved one’s wellbeing.