9 Effective Tips to Help Seniors Settle in Aged Care Easily
Seniors moving from independent living to an aged care residence is a bit challenging at first. Likewise, the entire family going through such might find it hard to adjust to changes. For old people, most of all, adjusting to a new environment and dealing with strangers may become distressing.
But because such times eventually come for most families, preparation is key.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2016, there is about 1 out of every 3 seniors who have already gone through aged care; whether permanent residential care or respite care. It is inevitable for many.
Although it is emotionally upsetting to let your elderly parents move out of the house, you can do a few things to make this transition from home living to aged care an exciting experience for the entire family.
Your ageing parents may become emotionally invested in their own home. Thinking about leaving it, may make them feel apprehensive and morose. So, before anything else, you have to make sure that they are prepared emotionally. Let them have their time to grieve.
However, you must clarify why they have to go through changes and why they are moving. This will help them understand where you are coming from. Since moving out from their own home is perceived as a loss of control, you can let them take part in the process of planning their transfer.
CREATE AN EFFECTIVE PLAN
Speaking of planning, you can provide them a visual of what to expect. If possible, show them possible aged care facilities and the potential rooms for them. To be creative, you can create a graphic plan of their residence by cutting pieces of paper to represent furniture and having elderly loved ones help in arranging them. In this manner, they will have an idea of what they are getting into, making them feel excited about moving out.
ENLIST THE HELP OF RELATIVES
This should not be a solo job. If possible, you can gather family members to help you out with the planning. Encourage your siblings and other close relatives to take days off from work and even let young children participate. Surrounding your elderly relatives with their loved ones will make them feel inspired and courageous, thus easing out the emotional stress they are going through.
ORGANISE AND SORT STUFF
Since your ageing parents are moving out of their home, downsizing is sure to follow. Go through your family’s possessions and see which stuff needs to go and which needs to stay. Categorise each item and label accordingly.
However, you must not do all the deciding and allow your parents to take charge and see which objects will go with them and which will be passed on to other members of the family. This might cause them to be too emotional. So just check if they will be bringing too much stuff with them to the nursing home.
Moving your loved one to an aged care facility is, in itself, an emotional phase in life. However, you must remember to keep a positive outlook during this transition even if your elderly parents do not. You have to be their emotional support during this time. Never complain and bicker as doing these may only make matters worse.
CREATE A HOMELY AMBIANCE
Remember the plan you did earlier? Now is the time to execute that plan. Once you have brought in all the furniture and stuff, you can start making the room homely. Add aesthetic appeal if possible and make it feel similar to a senior’s old home or bedroom. Bring in the same decorations they had and make sure that the entire space is very comfortable for them to move around.
DROP BY OFTEN
Feeling abandoned is probably the most common feeling seniors get when in aged care facilities. So it is extremely vital to visit them once in a while if your schedule permits. Just spend at least a few moments to catch up with them. These moments can do wonders for them.
ADDRESS ANY COMPLAINTS WITH STAFF
Your visits, be it weekly or monthly, are also opportunities to check-in with the staff. Hear out any complaints from your ageing parents and see if these are reasonable. Whenever they have complaints, make sure that you politely bring this to the attention of the staff. Similarly, you can ask what activities are done daily or ask for any special requests. Just remember that the entire management and the staff are only there to make sure that all residents are comfortable and happy with their services.
INITIATE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ONCE IN A WHILE
If you think your elderly loved one can manage, you can take them out for afternoon walks or meals in nearby restaurants. You can come up with fun activities and bring along with you other members of the family to join in. By having friends and family over to spend time with seniors, living in aged care will be a bit easier.
Helping an elderly family member or a friend transition into aged care facilities or nursing homes may draw out a lot of emotions. By following these simple tips, the move will become less painful for everyone.
Make sure to choose the right aged care home on the first try so future transfers are avoided. Seek financial and legal advice today.
Call Signpost Aged Care Services on 1800 744 676.
Until next time
Sara and Margaret