12 tips on how to cope after a loved one has moved into aged care
Having a loved one move into an aged care home can be challenging and perhaps more difficult than first thought. You may question the decision to move your loved one into residential aged care, especially if it wasn’t their idea or they’ve been told by medical workers that they can no longer live at home.
There are a few things you can do to support yourself (and others) through the transition period of your loved one moving into residential aged care.
- Acknowledge that it can be an emotional time for not just your loved one, but also for you. You may feel guilt or distress about handing over the care responsibilities of your loved one so take extra care of yourself while you gain the strength to process this change.
- If you’re not able to visit your loved one at their new home, call them on the phone. If your loved one does not have a phone of their own, there are landline-style phones specially-designed for older people, that use a SIM card so there’s no need to worry about having a telephone line connected. Failing that, call the care home directly and they can arrange for you to speak with them.
- If you can, take your loved one out for a coffee or a meal or do some shopping. If this is something you would commonly do together, it may provide you both with a sense of normality. Eldercare’s allied health staff can instruct you to help your loved one use mobility aids like wheelchairs if you’re not sure how to do this.
- Develop a relationship with the staff who are looking after your loved one. This can go a long way to understanding who is looking after your loved one and being able to contact the staff to ask for an update on how they are going.
- Why not share a meal with your loved one at their new home? All Eldercare care homes welcome friends and family to join residents for a meal. Speak to the admin staff at reception to book and prepay your meal.
- Style your loved one’s room with their personal items to create a more familiar environment and make it their ‘haven’.
- Write a message to staff about your loved one and their needs, preferences and interests so those who are not as familiar with your loved one can learn a bit more about them. Eldercare staff can always access this information but generally only at a nurse’s station, not while they are in a bedroom.
- Encourage your loved one to speak with the lifestyle staff and let them know what kind of activities, events and initiatives they would enjoy. If your loved one can’t do that by themselves, go along with them or contact the lifestyle team directly.
- If your loved one regularly reads the newspaper each morning or enjoys crosswords or sudokus, perhaps arrange for these to be provided to your loved one. You can speak to your site’s administration team to arrange a regular newspaper delivery or you can buy some crossword or sudoku books and leave them with your loved one. You could even give your loved one an iPad with a bunch of apps to keep their brain active!
- Learn about your loved one’s rights while they’re in residential aged care.
- Every piece of feedback is a gift. Provide feedback using the forms found at the care home or via Eldercare’s online feedback form.
- Visit My Aged Care’s resources for carers if you feel you need more support. You can speak to someone or access resources via Carer Gateway.
Please note some of these tips may only be applicable at Eldercare aged care homes. All electrical devices will need to be tested and tagged before being used at an Eldercare aged care home.