Have you recently had to move a loved one into a care home? Hayley Cantrell, manager of Foxearth Lodge Nursing Home (https://www.foxearthlodge.co.uk), has these top tips for how to settle in. 

If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you may have recently had to make the tough decision to move them into a care home. This can be an extremely stressful and challenging time for all concerned, so it’s natural that you’ll be feeling emotional and perhaps even upset about having to make this decision. However, for the safety and wellbeing of the person you love, you probably know deep down in your heart of hearts that it was the right choice. The person will receive the care and attention they require and once they have settled down, their quality of life may even improve, especially if they’ve been living alone and struggling for some time.

The key thing is to do all you can to help the person settle into the care home. Here’s our top tips for how to do this:

  • Information is key – make sure the care home has as much information and background on the person as possible. Tell them your loved ones likes and dislikes – things that make them smile and laugh and things that annoy them. Tell them what sort of environment your loved one prefers – do they like the bustle and noise of a busy environment or do they prefer peace and quiet? Would they like quiet time in their room or would they prefer to be in a sociable environment?
  • Visit regularly – during the first few weeks of the person moving into the care home, visit as much as you can. Make sure the person knows you are going to be a regular visitor. You might even consider taking some time off work during the first few weeks of them moving into the care home. Reassure them each time you visit that you’ll be back again soon.
  • Make the person’s room a home – put plenty of pictures of your loved one’s family and friends in their room. Put their favourite ornaments and items they treasure on the dressing table. Make sure their room is personalized and has plenty of their favourite items. This will help to reassure them.
  • Get to know the staff – work with the care home staff. Make sure they know you have your loved one’s best interests at heart. Give them help and support where you can to make the person happier. Tell them about the person and make sure you work together as a team.
  • Accept you may feel guilty – it’s natural to feel guilty about the choice you’ve had to make, but remember that the person’s safety is paramount. They are less likely to have falls, skip meals or be at risk of going outside and getting lost. You can’t always make a loved one happy, but you can make them safe. The decision you’ve made is a brave one and is ultimately the right choice for the person’s wellbeing.