Moving into a care home is a huge life change, but one that can be incredibly beneficial to your health, wellbeing and personal relationships.
Getting the right care at the right time can change your life for the better. It can allow you more freedom and comfort when your needs can no longer be met at home and loved ones visits can be enjoyable social visits.
Having chosen your care home here are some tips on how to make the move into your new home as easy as possible:
1. Home Comforts
A care home isn’t going to just be somewhere you live, it’s going to be your home. Make sure you bring the things that will make your room feel homely.
Do you have a favourite throw, ornament or picture? Bring them with you! Your room is your space, so pack those home comforts that will make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
2. Talk to the staff
No one will know your new home quite like the staff working there! From carers to activities coordinators to the chefs and housekeepers, everyone is there to give you the best experience possible.
Make sure to chat with them early on so they can get to know you, your likes and your dislikes. If you like to go to bed at a certain time or have a favourite breakfast, these are the details they want to know and will help them personalise their support to you.
3. Find your way around
When you first arrive, it can be tempting to go straight to your room, but don’t forget to also make sure to spend a bit of time having a look around the rest of the home and gardens. Find out where the key areas are: lounge, dining room and kitchens. Is there a space where activities take place?
Work out where your room is in relation to everything – it’ll help you feel more comfortable moving around the home.
4. Make a folder all about you
This may sound silly, but it can be really useful for your carers, nurses and helpers.
Make a folder of information about you – but not just the standard information: tell them what your hobbies are, or your favourite song. Include any key information about your family, what work you’ve done, or places you’ve lived. If you have a favourite birthday cake, make sure they know this!
All these little things make you who you are, and it’s important this information is known about by the staff so they can help you feel as at home as possible. This is particularly important for those living with dementia and their family might be able to help with this. Dementia UK have a life story template that might be helpful.
5. Get involved
One of the benefits of living in a care home is the activities. Activities have so many benefits; from physical and mental stimulation, the ability to keep up lifelong hobbies and provide shared experiences and build friendships with others in the home. The recent Olympics provided us with an excuse to run the Brendoncare Games providing much fun and laughter.
We have some incredibly passionate activities co-ordinators at Brendoncare, you can read a day in the life of Leeanne from Brendoncare Knightwood here.
Even joining in with general activities of daily living can be extremely beneficial. Some of our homes have been using material citizenship to improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Speaking of lifelong hobbies, try to keep these up where possible! You don’t have to always stay within the home. If you have a regular class or club in your local town, don’t give it up!
These hobbies are so important to our well-being and social life. Your new home should be able to organise a taxi there for you or use it as a good way to catch up with a relative while they give you a lift.
You can also take up new hobbies and activities: music and music therapy in different forms is always popular in Brendoncare homes.
Bring all your favourite photographs to display around your room. Not only does seeing happy memories lift your spirits, but they make great conversation starters with staff and visitors.
You can talk to your new neighbours about your children, grandchildren or even your beloved pets! Photos of things you love will make your room feel more like your own.
8. Change your address
Moving into a care home is just like moving house – it’s the next step in your life and it’s important to make sure you’ve kept everyone up to date with your change of address.
Whether it be family, friends or other correspondence, it’s helpful to get your change of address out ahead of your move. It’s one less thing to think of and frees you up to spend time meeting your new neighbours.
Make sure you have enough medication to take with you for your move and for a bit of time afterwards, particularly if you are moving out of your local town.
9. Medication & health
All homes will have a GP they are linked to who you can register with if needed, but you may choose to stay with your own if convenient.
10. Keep in touch!
It can seem like the world is moving on without you when you are taken out of your everyday life, but that’s not the case! Your friends and family will still want to hear from you, and especially to hear how you are settling in and all the new stories and experiences you’ve had.
Visitors are always welcome or if they live some distance away, then why not make the most of technology and have a virtual visit with a video call. The home’s staff can help you with this.
Moving into a care home is a change but often a very positive experience and Brendoncare are here to support you from your first visit to your move-in day and beyond.