Placing Your Elderly Loved One in a Care Home

 In Blog

Placing an elderly loved one into a care home is one of the most difficult decisions a family can face. It’s a time filled with mixed emotions, from concern for your loved one’s well-being to potential feelings of sadness or guilt.  The aim of this guide is to help you navigate this process with sensitivity, making sure your loved one receives the best possible care to ensure their comfort and happiness.

Initiating the Conversation with Your Loved One

Importance of Consent

It’s really important to remember that, barring cases of significantly reduced mental capacity, you cannot force someone into a care home. This decision needs their understanding and agreement as much as possible.

Communication Strategies

  • Finding the Right Setting: Choose a quiet, private location where both you and your loved one feel relaxed and can talk openly.
  • Collaborative Approach: Consider including other trusted family members in the conversation, but be careful not to overwhelm your loved one.
  • Starting with Strengths: Begin by focusing on your loved one’s remaining independence and the things they manage well.
  • Gentle Honesty: Sensitively point out the areas where additional support is becoming necessary for their safety and well-being.
  • Expressing Your Concerns: Share your own worries for their health and happiness in their current situation.
  • Space for Their Feelings: Be patient and allow ample time for your loved one to express their thoughts, concerns, and potential fears.

Empathy and Understanding

Put yourself in their shoes and consider what might be causing them to resist care. Some common fears include:

  • Loss of independence: Acknowledge their concerns about having less control over their daily lives.
  • Social Isolation: Reassure them about opportunities to stay connected with loved ones and make new friends within the care home.
  • Fear of Change: Discuss the positives about a care home environment, like ready-made meals and assistance with daily tasks.

By anticipating their concerns, you can be ready with solutions or highlight specific benefits of care homes to ease their worries.

Finding the Right Care Home

Understanding Care Needs

Before choosing a care home, it’s essential to understand the specific needs of your elderly loved one.  Residential care homes offer assistance with daily tasks, meals, and activities in a home-like environment.  Nursing homes provide round-the-clock medical care for those with more complex health needs.  For individuals living with dementia, specialised dementia homes offer tailored support and secure environments.

Involving Your Loved One

The decision about a care home shouldn’t be made solely by you.  It’s vital to involve your loved one as much as possible, respecting their preferences and opinions.  Visiting potential care homes together allows them to see the facilities firsthand and ask questions. This involvement fosters a sense of control and promotes their continued independence in the decision-making process.

Criteria for Evaluation

When visiting care homes, pay close attention to several key factors:

  • Staff: Are the staff welcoming and friendly? Do they seem genuinely interested in getting to know the residents? Is the manager available to talk and answer your questions?
  • Environment: Assess the overall cleanliness, the condition of furniture and carpets, and any potential safety concerns.
  • Food: Does the dining area offer a variety of healthy and appealing food choices?
  • Residents: Do the residents appear happy, well-cared for, and engaged in activities or social interaction?
  • Activities: Is there a diverse activities calendar that aligns with your loved one’s interests? Does the care home encourage and facilitate resident participation?

Planning the Transition

Logistics of the Move

Once you’ve chosen the right care home, it’s time to plan the move itself.  Discuss with your loved one what they want to bring to their new home. Familiar items like photographs, a favourite chair, or cherished keepsakes can add a comforting touch.  Check with the care home about specific guidelines for personal belongings.

Consider arranging pre-move visits for your loved one to become familiar with the care home environment. Some facilities offer short respite stays, allowing your loved one to experience the daily routine and atmosphere as a trial run.

Emotional Support

The transition to a care home is a significant change for both you and your loved one. Acknowledge the wide range of potential emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or even relief.  Take the time to listen to your loved one’s concerns and offer reassurance about the benefits of this move for their well-being and happiness.

Moving Day and Settling In

Minimising Stress

Moving day can be particularly stressful for an elderly person.  Create a clear schedule with a timeline to reduce uncertainty and provide a sense of structure. If your loved one seems resistant on moving day, calmly remind them of the reasons for the move and the benefits of their new home.  Avoid arguments or confrontations that might exacerbate their anxiety.

Making it Homey

Help personalise your loved one’s new room with familiar photos, cherished trinkets, and beloved mementos.  Involving them in the process of arranging their space provides a sense of control and eases the transition. Introduce them to staff and encourage them to join an activity or social gathering.

Easing the Goodbye

For many families, it’s best to leave while your loved one is engaged in an activity or having a meal. This avoids prolonged, emotional farewells that can be upsetting for everyone involved.

Managing Your Own Emotions

It’s completely natural to experience some sadness or even guilt after leaving your loved one at the care home. Talk to friends, family, or seek professional support if needed.  Remember, you’ve made a decision rooted in love and the desire for the best possible care.  The care home staff suggest waiting about a week before visiting to allow your loved one time to adjust, but feel free to call for updates on how they’re settling in.

Additional Resources and Considerations

Funding Options:  Navigating the costs of care homes can be complex. Explore potential sources of funding:

Navigating Complex Needs: If your loved one has complex health conditions or advanced dementia, consider these resources:

Directory Links: Find reputable care home directories or search engines:

Finding the Best Care for Your Loved One

The decision to move a loved one into a care home is never easy.  Remember, open communication, thorough research, and a focus on finding the right fit will greatly enhance their well-being and quality of life. This guide aimed to provide support in every step of this process.  Seek further information and guidance from healthcare professionals, relevant charities, and care agencies whenever needed.

For Care Home and Nursing Home Options in Nottinghamshire

If you’re exploring care home or nursing home options in the Nottinghamshire area, Lidder Care offers compassionate and personalised care solutions. Get in touch to learn more about their facilities and how they can support your loved one.