Caretakers: How You Can Help Your Loved Ones

There are many reasons why a loved one moves into a nursing home. Maybe their spouse has died and they are too ill to live on their own. Illness is one of the major reasons for moving to a nursing facility. When family members live far away, there is no one locally who can care for them so they can stay in their home.

1. Be positive about the move. Your loved one will be feeling a wide range of emotions. Stress the positives of their new living situation. Keep them upbeat about the move as well. Also, let them help in the choice of facility so that the decision is not all yours.

2. Furnish their room with their favorite things. A new place is less foreign when familiar things are around. Bring family photos, a favorite chair, their own linens, jewelry and whatever else will make them feel comfortable in their surroundings.

3. Become friendly with the staff. Staying on a first name basis and answering calls immediately, will mean better relations with those caring for your loved one. They may take extra steps to ensure they are always watched out for.

4. Call often. Even when you can’t visit, you can pick up the phone. Talk with your loved one on a regular basis but also surprise them with phone calls at other times. Taking the time to stay connected will let them know you haven’t forgotten about them.

5. Visit when you can. If you are in town, arrange for outings so they can get away from the nursing home now and again. Take them shopping, out to dinner and to family events.

6. Ask about overnight visits. On holidays, it is more special for them to stay with family instead of just seeing you for a short while.

7. Send letters. A letter is something they can hold on to in the tough times between visits and phone calls. Send new family photos. Also send a supply of self-addressed stamped envelopes for them to write you back.

Making the move to a nursing home is a tough adjustment that sometimes needs to be done. Soften the blow by keeping your loved one close to you and not at arm’s length.