How to Best Support a Loved One When Transitioning Into Aged Care

 

 

When a loved one transitions into an aged care facility (even those under 65 years suffering from a disability), it can be an unsettling time for them and their families and friends. For those making the move, it can be an emotional time as it’s a life altering moment and often a harsh reality of life stage change signifying for some – decreased mobility, others a loss of independence and it’s a transfer into an unfamiliar environment that’s not “home”.

However, whilst it can be a confronting change, it shouldn’t be seen as a negative one. To ensure a comfortable transition into aged care, family and friends can gain support from aged care facilities themselves, government organisations, friends or family who have gone through similar experiences and hopefully one or two of the below points and links will also provide insights into a more seamless transition into aged residential care.

Be Compassionate & Understanding

Witnesing and aiding loved ones moving out of their family home brings up fond memories which are hard to let go of encompassing family traditions and happy recollections. These times can also harbour unwanted arguments pertaining to who gets to own or look after important keepsakes, momentos – even pets.

As distressing as the transition can be for family members, it’s important to remember to be a pillar of strength for your loved one going through the transition, as internally they may be suffering emotionally and hiding how they really feel.

Make sure you are available to listen to how your loved one is feeling. If you sense they are keeping their emotions hidden, ask how they are and how you can help them handle the situation as you really want to make the move easier for them. Chat together about the fun times experienced in their home. Importantly – let your loved one talk about the move and offer an understanding and compassionate ear. Enabling the grieving process assists in the overall transition and demonstrates respect and empathy.

 

Cultivate Relationships

Develop positive relationships with the staff members caring for your loved one. This will ensure you are effectively communicating to staff about their needs, but it also helps your loved one build trust and familiarity amongst those taking care of them.

Employees in care facilities are trained to identify, nurture and address the health, safety and emotional needs of residents in their care, and they will always try and instil a personalised approach which is why strong, positive relationships with the caregivers of your loved one, is so important.

Try and encourage your friend or family member to partake in recreational lifestyle programs provided by aged care facilities too, as participation can aid your loved one in establishing new friendships which makes their new home more pleasant and enjoyable, provides companionship and will promote a greater sense of confidence and belonging.

 

Encourage Independence

Engage your loved one in the decision making processes about their health, care and individual needs as this will provide them with a sense of independence which they may feel is becoming restricted, compromised and limited – particularly if their mobility is cause for concern.

If it is possible to include your loved one in their own care decisions, such as showering, dressing, light exercise, cutting their food up – it may assist in them maintaining a sense of enablement and liberation.

 

Preserving Personal Identity

Recreational activities in aged care facilities provides your loved one with opportunities for socialisation, creative expression and companionship which helps one maintain their personal identity and individual character or personality. From day trips, volunteer visits, happy hour, concerts, lunches, morning teas and other celebrations and festivities, aged care residences offer a consistent, active lifestyle and recreational program to ensure residents feels included, comfortable and entertained.

Family members can assist in helping their loved one maintain their own identity through the forethought of photographs, personal momentos, favourite music and movies, favourite hobbies, encouraging they continue on with their arts and crafts such as knitting or reading and even indulging in their favourite snacks!

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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