How to Make a Smooth Transition from Home Care to an Aged Care Home
For many older adults, home care is an ideal solution for maintaining safety and independence.
It provides the right amount of assistance to allow the senior to remain at home for longer. Families often look at a home care provider as their care partner in supporting a family member’s needs. In some cases, it’s a care option that works for many years.
As an ageing loved one’s needs increase or family members’ availability changes, however, a change in service might be necessary. There may come a time when the senior needs more assistance than what can be safely delivered at home.
This is especially true for those who develops symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Behaviours such as wandering or restlessness can be tough to manage in a home environment.
Then there are times when the senior’s house or neighbourhood is no longer safe. Stairs can become a barrier. A home located in a rural area might make transportation tough as more health care appointments become necessary.
What can adult children do when they find themselves in this situation?
For many, a transition to an aged care home, dementia care, or a retirement community is the answer.
When a Loved One Moves to a Senior Community
At Mayflower, we are actively involved in the transition whenever possible. If a home care client and their family decide moving is in their best interest, we have the advantage of knowing the client’s situation, their story, and their unique needs. We’ll be beside them every step of the way.
For those who have never utilised in-home care or are moving in after working with another home care agency, our admissions team will take all the time necessary to get to know the older adult and their family. The more we learn ahead of moving day, the easier the transition will be.
What part do families play in making a smooth transition? We have some suggestions we think you will find useful:
1. Establish a reasonable timeline
Many who make this move are going from a home with a lot of space to an apartment or suite. Deciding what to keep, what to give to family, and what to donate can be very time-consuming, and requires patience. It can also be a very emotional time for you and your loved one. Whenever possible, take your time working through this process, with plenty of breaks. It will be a little less stressful for everyone involved. Ensure to keep items that feel like ‘home’ to your loved one, such as family or wedding photos, vases, cushions, or other comfort items to take with them to their next home. Some more tips can be found here.
2. Involve the senior in preparations
If the senior is able, try to involve them in the preparations to whatever degree possible. Giving them a voice in the decision-making process will allow them to maintain a sense of independence. That said, don’t overwhelm them with small details that may make little impact.
3. Encourage participation prior to moving
It’s normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place at any age. For an older adult going from a private residence to a retirement community or aged care home, this is an especially big change. One option to consider is to get your loved one involved before the big day in activities at their future home. Talk with the staff to identify events the senior enjoys, such as a knitting group or armchair exercise class.
4. Preserve memories of the home
Another suggestion is to capture videos and photos of the older adult’s home and garden before you start packing. Be sure you include all their favourite nooks, both inside and outside the home, and if your loved one has dementia, a photo of their front door. You can assemble them in a slideshow for their tablet or in a photo album, with notes they’ll cherish long after the move is behind them. The photo of the front door may prove useful if your loved one finds it difficult to find their unit or suite. Encourage friends and family to visit
Not everyone understands aged care homes or retirement communities. Some may be hesitant about visiting, especially for the first time. Once your loved one is somewhat settled, plan a housewarming party. Or you could invite a few friends at a time to join the senior for lunch or dinner. Some retirement villages and aged care homes, such as Mayflower Brighton and Mayflower Reservoir have cafes and restaurants which may feel a little more comfortable for everyone involved. After loved ones have visited for the first time, they’ll likely be more comfortable with popping in again.
Another article you’ll find helpful, as mentioned in step one, is New Room, New Home. How to Make Your New Space Feel Like Home! It has helpful tips for decorating and making the new space feel comfortable and inviting, like home.
Contact Mayflower if you would like to discuss which housing solution might be a good fit for your senior loved one. One of our friendly team members will be happy to help!