After making the difficult decision that it is time for your loved one to move into a care home, you must be open and honest with your loved one as much as you can. If you hold back too much information it can sometimes come as an unwelcome surprise, and a sudden and unexpected change can be upsetting for everyone involved.
Before the move, many care homes will arrange to visit your relative at home to meet them and walk them through what they can expect. During the visit, they will likely invite them to visit the home so that they can take a look around and get used to the surroundings, staff and other residents. This introduction helps to build trust and familiarity, which should always be key considerations. To further help with this, if the care home offers adult day care or a respite care service, these could be utilised so your loved one is already comfortable spending time at the home before they move in.
What to do on the day of the move
When the day of the move arrives, there will likely be a lot of high emotions, both from your loved one and yourself. Moving a loved one into a care home is a big moment in your lives, but one you are doing for all the right reasons, no matter how hard it might be.
You know your loved one better than anyone, so try to pre-empt anything that may cause anxiety, upset or conflict before it happens. At the same time, it is important to be honest about what is happening but do so with a soft and understanding approach.
Familiarity remains key, so do what you can to keep things consistent. Ask staff who have met your loved one to be there to greet them, and encourage them to speak to existing residents they may have already met during previous visits. During this time, make their room as welcoming as possible by using some of their own furniture, photographs and ornaments.
When the time comes for you to leave, it may get difficult, but this will be easier if your loved one has received day care or respite care in the past. Leaving when they are engaged in an activity, talking with staff or eating can make it a less emotional time for everyone.
If you do have any concerns, care home staff will always be available to answer your questions.