How to Ensure Success When Moving a Loved One to a Nursing Home
There comes a time when you need to consider a change in care or standard of living for your loved ones as they increase in age. Some are simply less interested in or able to manage the day to day of their own house and others are in need of an additional level of care and support. Frenkel & Frenkel wants to support you and your loved ones by providing our best advice in making a transition into a nursing home and ensuring you get the level of care that you deserve.
Placing your loved one in a nursing home means that you are entrusting them to an organization that you are unfamiliar with, or at best, referred to by a friend. This is a giant step in the lives of the elderly so we want to help ensure the best transition possible.
Types of Senior Housing Options
First, you want to evaluate the different types of senior housing available. Here is a quick summary of the options available for adult care:
Independent Living – This option is for those seniors who have very few – or no – medical problems. This living arrangement includes private apartments, custom-designed meal packages, and social outings and events. It is the most affordable option for seniors as they are still independent. They don’t need the attention that other levels of retirement care provide.
Assisted Living – These homes are essentially the middle-ground between the independent senior adult and the senior needing extensive care. This living arrangement is for the elderly who aren’t able to live on their own safely but they don’t need significant, 24-7 attention. With this option, housekeeping, assistance with medications, and a central dining room with three meals per day are provided. The staff is available 24 hours a day and most assisted living communities provide licensed nursing services also.
Memory Care – If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s, this level of care is necessary. With their loss of memory – and sometimes even basic functions – they require 24-hour support to ensure both their safety and a reasonable quality of life. This type of care is often provided in nursing homes and those that offer assisted living services.
Nursing Homes – These provide 24-hour care, specifically for those who need a nurse and a significant level of medical assistance. Those retirement communities that provide this level of service often have short term stays for those rehabilitating after surgery or an illness. Otherwise, these are long-term nursing facilities needing routine medical care due to complex medical conditions. Residents in these homes usually share a room and are served their food in a dining area. These are the most expensive housing options because of the amount of care needed.
Making Your Loved One Feel at Home
Once you understand the care options available and select the one appropriate for you, then you can begin to address the specific needs of your situation. A move into a nursing home isn’t always what a senior citizen wants – and that’s completely understandable; a nursing home can feel like a restriction of freedom and independence that a person once had from living in his or her own home. However, it’s important to help give your loved one a positive outlook on their new home. One of the best ways to do this is by making it actually feel like home. We recommend the following:
- Add decorations to your loved one’s home – especially decorations that were used in his or her former home.
- Personalize the room with photos of the family, children, or grandchildren.
- Bring in things that your loved one has made – or even things that his or her grandchildren have made.
- Change out the decorations for the holidays.
- Add a television and telephone to the room, if you’re able to.
- Consider customizations that are specific to the interests of your loved one or give them something to care for. For example, everyone can appreciate fresh flowers to remind them of the outdoors and some might enjoy a plant.
Listening to Negative Remarks
Moving into a retirement home can be difficult and if your loved one is making negative remarks, don’t disregard them. Hear them out knowing that they could be expressing fears or uncertainties about their new environment. Give your loved one the proper respect by listening to his or her concerns – regardless of whether they are legitimate or not. Try to stay in control of your own emotions and do not get upset, be condescending, or ignore their feelings and beliefs – this will only hurt your loved one more. If you feel like some of their complaints regarding the new environment should be addressed, discuss them with a staff member and see what available options or alternatives there are.
Care Plan Meetings
Often there is a care plan meeting hosted by the nursing home staff every several weeks. At this meeting, you get to talk with the staff directly involved in caring for your loved one. They’ll explain what goes on in daily life, including care plans, treatments, and any other things you may want to know about. After the meeting is over, review the care plan with your family members and loved one and determine whether it needs to be modified and how you will monitor it.
Additional Important Tips in Making Sure This Move is a Success
Lastly, the most important thing you can do for your loved one is to be present. One of the main fears for senior citizens moving into nursing homes is they will be cut off from their family and lose their familial role. Don’t just tell them that won’t be the case – show them! Make frequent visits, bring kids, and other members of the family with you when you come. It is also important to be present to understand how the level of service is at the retirement community over time. We don’t expect problems to arise with the nursing home staff or that something as extreme as elderly neglect and abuse could actually happen. But regardless, your presence lets the staff and your loved one know you are paying attention.
If the nursing home isn’t close by, send mail and photos of you or your kids. Don’t forget about the holidays either – send cards for these special events. Also, you should keep them up on news, especially with updates on the kids to make them feel they’re still part of the family.
Contact Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Dallas and Fort Worth
Our desire is that your retirement home experience would be only positive. But, if you have reason to believe a loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or elderly neglect, please schedule a free consultation today. Our compassionate Dallas/Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to help and available by phone at 1-800-834-0000 or email.