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Moving Into a Nursing Home
How to Prepare for a Move Into Skilled Nursing

What to Ask the Relative before the move

When searching for a skilled nursing facility, family and friends must consider the unknowns, not just the services offered, but to help the person in need to figure out what's important to her: to play the "what if" game.

This process helps her better gauge when the right time is to move and what's the best housing option.

Your loved one has basically a few options; assisted living and a nursing home.

Nursing homes provide constant medical attention and help, while assisted living provides limited medical care. Although, one type of assisted living, called continuing care, that offers scalable services to seniors living with a wide-range of needs. A continuing care residential community includes independent, assisted, skilled nursing, and memory care facilities - all in one setting.

Before the Move to a Nursing Home

Here are reminders on what to ask your relative before moving into a facility.

  • Ask Your Parent Questions About The Family History
  • Discuss End-of-Life Options
  • Choose a Facility For Your Parent that Offers Options for Future Changes in Need
  • Keep Her Jewelry Out of the Nursing Home Facility
  • Obtain Legal Powers to Handle Your Parent's Affairs if She Should Become Incompetent
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Social Security Administration account
  • Bank and investment accounts

Moving into a Nursing Home

Moving into a nursing home is usually prompted by a debilitating chronic condition or a terminal condition requiring

Prepare for Move to Nursing Home
Prepare for Move to Nursing Home
advanced medical care. In these cases, family and friends are under-the-gun to find a facility but being in a hurry can limit options.

If your loved one moves by choice and able to participate in choosing a facility, you'll have more options and better chances in finding the best place.

Here are questions to ask a loved one about moving that helps the process:

  • Are you feeling lonely and isolated?
  • Are you losing balance when walking and feel less confident in your gait?
  • Are you falling more often?
  • Are you more forgetful?
  • Are you eating nutritious meals?
  • Are you leaving the stove on?
  • Are you forgetting to take medications?
  • Are you missing appointments?
  • Are you less confident in driving skills? Are you having accidents?
  • Are you paying your bills?
  • Are you living in confined areas of your home?
  • Are your medical conditions worsening?
  • Are you feeling safe at home?
  • Are you close to support systems like friends, family and church members?
  • Are you socially active, at the level you want?
  • Are you comfortable in your driving skills?

Knowing the answers to these questions give seniors a better idea when it's time to move.

Help for Transitioning to a Nursing Home

Moving from one's home of many years is extremely disheartening and frightful. The transitions are better managed when the person clearly understands what to expect and if she gets support from her family and friends. When helping a loved one with the transition, have awareness of the following:

Get Prepared

Know that the person moving needs time to adjust but know that as time passes, the person becomes comfortable with the nursing home facility. Knowing what to expect will help them get through the first day.

Take time to make a plan for day one. She may want you to spend it with her. Get others to join in by giving support phone calls or visits.

Day One at the Nursing Home

Remember moving and changing the place you live? Recall how tiresome and exhausting it is. Your loved one may grieve and feel saddened. All transitions are physically demanding and emotional.

Be involved and help her settle in. The more hands on you give to her move, the easier she'll adjust to her home.

Help with unpacking and decorating her new home. Help restore some sense of her home environment by decorating rooms with things brought from the previous home.

Bring things that she made or collected.

Bring items that are important to her, like a picture or chair.

Bring photos of her family, favorite places or vacation photos.

Bring her favorite music, magazines, books, and newspapers.

Re-create the same mood of her former home; same colors, same textures and tones. .

Add comfort with favorite knickknacks.

Change up decor for the holidays and make it brighter and cheerful.

Bring flowers and plants and seasonal reminders to brighten the room.

Provide a telephone or television if the room can accommodate them.

Week One in the Nursing Home

Help Loved One Adjust to Move
Help Loved One Adjust to Move

The first week is confusing for both you and your loved one. You're getting used to a new life, routine, schedule, and new people. Count on the staff to help with the smooth transition. .

Prepare for a loved one's negativity and putting the place down. Know that your loved one wants to return home. Tell her you understand and wish she could. Listen to her. Let her talk about why she's feeling lonely and uncomfortable. If you can suggest ways for her to get involved with others, share it but don't force her.

Encourage her to participate in planning her own care plan. Allow her to express needs. Make sure she can follow her own set routine like when to get up in the morning or go to bed. It's important that someone is there to support how she wants to live.

Also, during the first week, she'll better understand the routines of the facility: what it's like during meals, shift change and at different times during the day. your loved one will begin to recognize familiar faces. Remind her to write questions and bring them to her care plan meetings.

During the first week, don't feel like you're visiting too much. Call and visit as often as you'd want. Don't feel required to be with your mom every minute of the day. If you can't visit, call.

Take her outside the nursing home to have lunch, to shop, to go to a movie and to visit friends. But before you re-commence outside visits, make sure she's settled and comfortable with her new home.

First Month

Fortunately, the first one will pass quickly. By now, your loved one has settled into her new home and schedule. She's met new residents and become familiar with staff members. You, together, have attended a care planning session or two.

Volunteer your time, skills and help at the nursing home. The staff will appreciate the help and your loved one will love to see you actively participating in her new lifestyle. If you play a musical instrument, can help in cooking or painting sessions contribute and entertain the residents.

Continue to get involved with your relative's hygiene activities like hand washing, bathroom assistance, taking her on short walks. Keep yourself informed on nursing their care plan.

Be her advocate. It helps her receive the best treatment and care and live as rewarding and happy a life as possible. It will also help protect them from abuse that sadly still takes place in nursing care homes.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.