Whether yourself or an older family member, moving into a nursing home is a major decision, so you must consider it thoroughly. This decision may arrive after hospitalization or because needs are hard to meet otherwise. While moving may be stressful, some things can help you navigate the process more easily to choose what’s best for you or your loved one.
Nursing homes: myths vs facts
The term’ nursing home’ has gained negative connotations throughout time, and it’s essential to distinguish myths from facts. For instance, there’s the misconception that only those whose family members don’t care about them go to nursing homes. But that’s completely wrong! Sometimes, you may not be able to take the responsibility of being a caregiver because different factors in your life may not allow you to do so. In that situation, looking for a place where your loved one will be cared for is the best possible decision.
Another common myth is that you’ll never leave once you go to a nursing home. While some people may require custodial and medical care until the end of their life due to a severe condition, that’s not the case for everyone. For example, some people may need to go to a nursing home after a stroke, but after rehabilitative care, they may return to their homes.
It is also believed that nursing homes don’t provide efficient patient care, but that’s not true. There are efficient safeguards in place, so if you do your research, it’s impossible not to find the right fit. Due to technology’s progress, telemedicine for nursing homes has now become a thing, which means you can access virtual care services. Nursing homes embracing telemedicine enjoy many benefits, such as improved medical care and reduced hospitalizations. So, there’s no need to worry about not getting proper care as long as you consider your options thoroughly.
There’s also the myth that you have no choice but to go to a nursing home if you can’t take care of yourself at home. But the truth is, there are so many other options, like assisted living or home health services. Ultimately, it’s about choosing what’s right for you, but understanding that these are only myths may help you feel more confident about nursing homes.
Aspects to consider when moving into a nursing home
Now that we’ve discussed common myths, here are some factors to keep in mind if you’re considering a nursing home for yourself or a loved one.
The facility’s staff members matter a lot when choosing a nursing home because they offer care and help ensure you will have a comfortable time. Hence, it’s essential to pay attention to how they talk and behave. If they are kind and warm, those are signs that indicate they are trustworthy, and you’ll be able to communicate comfortably with them. When you visit the facility, notice how the staff greets you. Are they welcoming? Or do you find it difficult to get their attention? Don’t hesitate to ask questions about staffing levels both during the day and night and what kinds of care skills are available. Suppose you need additional care, such as physiotherapy; you can also require this information and learn whether doctors have a partnership with the facility. If not, find out how the nursing home provides transport to the appointments. Another vital information you should learn is how they handle complaints at the facility. If, at some point, you consider the care inadequate, you should know who you can turn to in order to fix the problem. It’s vital to ensure your provider will always be glad to support you.
When visiting a nursing home, you’ll first notice the environment. As such, you should notice if the home is clean and well-maintained. This will help you make an impression of what it is like to live in the facility. The layout also matters as the last thing you want is for you or your loved one to get lost in the new home. Moreover, you should consider the following aspects too:
- If there is enough space in the facility;
- Whether the bathroom is shared or individual;
- If the room provides TV, Internet, and a private phone line;
- What items would you need to bring, and if there’s storage for your clothes.
Security is also paramount, so check for CCTV cameras or keypad door locks.
The vibe you get at the facility tells a lot about what it is like to be there. Suppose residents are chatty and bright; that’s likely a sign they feel comfortable and spend an enjoyable time at the nursing home. Aged care facilities provide different kinds of activities, so it’s essential to consider this aspect when trying to make a decision. After all, each resident should live in a nursing home that aligns with their interests and keeps them entertained. That’s because your psychological well-being is just as important as your physical health. Speaking of well-being, if you enjoy gardening or walking, you may want to choose a nursing home with a garden where you can also catch up with loved ones. Also, figure out whether the facility is pet friendly so you can bring your dog or cat. Who knows? You may actually find out there are already pets at the nursing home, which is great, considering that pets can be a great recovery aid.
How to cope with the emotions when moving to a nursing home
As mentioned previously in the article, you may experience many difficult emotions when moving to a nursing home. If you’re the one taking this major step, it’s important to accept what you’re feeling. After all, it’s normal to experience grief or anger. Acknowledge the difficulties, be patient, and remember that losing your independence doesn’t mean you’re weak. Suppose a family member is the one moving. In that case, you may feel guilty about not being able to take care of them, but don’t be hard on yourself: there probably are significant reasons why you can’t take the role of a caregiver, so give yourself compassion. If you stay involved and keep in contact with your loved one, they’ll feel supported. If distance doesn’t allow you to visit them often at the nursing home, remember that even letters, emails and phone calls can make a significant difference – what matters is to let your loved one know you’re always there for them, even if you’re far away.