Helping Your Loved One Transition to Skilled Nursing Care
Transitioning to a nursing home, professionally known as a Skilled Nursing Care center, can be an exhausting, emotionally challenging process. Your first few visits may be uncomfortable. Your loved one may be angry with you or you may feel guilty. Allow yourself some bad days. You both will need time to adjust. Lean on center staff for support. Talk with the center social worker if you feel the bad days last too long.
Transitions are usually easier to manage when you know what to expect and how to help a loved one feel more at home. View tips on successful visits, handling negative comments, information on outings, and recommendations on staying in touch below.
What to Expect
As each day passes, your loved one and you will feel better about your care decision. Knowing what to expect can help you both through the first day, week and month. As you and your loved one prepare for the move, take some time to plan out the time after you leave the center on moving day. Maybe you’ll want company. Maybe you’ll want to know others can be available for a phone call. Be prepared for different options. You may want to ask family and friends to be available, just in case. If you invite family to your home and realize that you’re not up to a visit, be honest and let them know.
Helping Your Loved One Feel More at Home
A move into a skilled nursing care facility, also known as a nursing home, is not a move into a home. It’s a move into your loved one’s new home. Keeping this positive outlook will remove many of the barriers that make it tough to transition. Help your loved one make the new home as comfortable and personal as possible.
While decorative items should not interfere with the caregiving mission or facility policies, thoughtful touches can cheer both the mind and spirit. Discuss decorating ideas with staff members, and ask if they have any suggestions that you might not have considered.
Here are some tips to create an at-home atmosphere:
- Borrow the feeling of your loved one’s former home. Capture and recreate the same mood, texture and tone.
- Bring things that your loved one has made or collected.
- Add comfort with favorite knick knacks.
- Add family photos or children’s homemade crafts.
- Change up decor for the holidays. In most cases, the brighter and more cheerful, the better.
- Stimulate all the senses with soft fabrics, colorful artwork, or scented accents.
- Bring the outdoors indoors, like fresh flowers, colorful leaves and other seasonal reminders to brighten the room.
- Add magazines, books and newspapers, or tape-recorded books and/or music.
Provide a telephone or television if the room can accommodate them.