Getting ready to transition to nursing home care? Here are our top tips

Here are suggestions from other caregivers for the elderly who have been there and done that in how you can make your loved one comfortable as they transition to a residential care facility:


Know when it’s time

If I was dealing with memory loss I would want my loved one to at least become familiar with their new surroundings before [their health is deteriorated]. I have had senior parents have their daughter put in a residents home in case they died before her. They wanted the staff to hear her stories and the life she once had. – Dani H.

I was there every day for hours but she couldn’t remember, even if I just left. – Jane C. A.

Fostering friendships

Ask about activities provided and try to get her involved. – Betty S. H.

[My mom] was in a facility run by nuns and priests and at least once a day she would go to the chapel for services. – Eluisa I. L.

Staff will speak with residents more often if you let them know how sad she is…as well as inviting patients to activities more frequently. – Diana M.

Celebrating memories

Always make sure they have pictures of their own mom and dad in their sight and fill their room with family pictures and their own things that make them feel comfortable. I also left family albums so she and her private PSW could look through them, when I couldn’t be there. – Jane C. A.

Music!!! Get her an ipod or Walkman with old cds that she loved as a younger girl. Its made a WORLD of difference in my mom. – Cindy L.

Make videos of family gatherings and let her watch it as often as she wants. – Tonia B.

Sing old songs; most likely, she will remember every word. – Cindy L. L.

Arranging visitors

Have a family meeting if you can and schedule your days. Share how the visiting went and share wants and needs of your person. – Debra K.

I have a sign in book in my mom’s room. – John-Roz S.

When I worked in programs I had an email set up called eldersonemail for recreational purposes only. Every Wednesday family had until 8:00pm to send emails on Sunday the recreation staff would print them off seal it in an evenlope with their name and a volunteer would deliver it to them. Writing letters is difficult for many families. I learned this from families feedback. Setting up an email system worked great. – Dani H.

Advocating for excellent care

I helped family members make an album about their parent or spouse with pictures of who was in their life and names. I also had them write their likes and dislikes, key words to use or not use, how they liked to be bathed, etc. It would stay by their bedside table. Senior helpers would pick it up and get to know the person as an individual. – Dani H.

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  1. Very nice, but 1) there is NO ONE. NO ONE here to visit mom except ME. A niece once a month , or someone from her church once a year… However, the good news is: 2) Mom doesn’t even know where she IS! (I was never so glad in my life when I got her on Medicaid and into a nursing home, the ‘caregiving’ nearly killed me.) She loves it there! Jello! Chicken patty sandwiches! More good news: 3) the staff and residents at the nursing home ADORE Mom! She is one of those rare good-natured old birds the whole world loves to death. Never a tantrum, never a bad word. So we have been pretty lucky, no?

  2. All great ideas .. Thanks for sharing. My husband had some long nursing home stays but is home now .. He stayed 5 and 6 months..
    He likes having All his things handy on his tray , but the drawers in the tray are not big enough ..
    He was in bed most of the time..
    I found a nice box that had different sections in it . ( I think it was for remote controls etc ) anyway , all his stuff fit in there

    His glasses, comb , pen, electric shaver, nail clippers, small bottle of hand claner , etc..
    This made it convenient for him ..

    So when they bring his meals , he just slides the box to the side ..

    Take care Theresa

  3. I love the sign- book idea! Maybe the person sighning in could leave a short memo about something good / happy that happened or was reminisced during the visit!

  4. Get to know the nursing staff, and help develop a care plan that suited for your loved one, likes, dislikes, spiritual and physical needs….makes all the difference.


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