Coping with a Loved One’s Move into a Nursing Home

Coping with a Loved One’s Move into a Nursing Home

The decision to transition from a family home to a long-term nursing facility is difficult for seniors to discuss and the adjustment can be stressful for family members as well. Most of us will admit that we have experienced guilt about not being able to keep our parents safe at home and that we are unable to give the level of caregiving they may require.


When the decision is made and Mom or Dad is moving to a nursing home, the focus is on them – rightfully so – not on your emotional rollercoaster of guilt, anxiety, fear, and sadness.  You may be second-guessing your decision and wondering if this move really is the right one.  For many, mixed in with these emotions is a sense of relief that Mom or Dad will be taken care of in a safe environment and the stress of 24/7 caregiving is over.  Some feel guilty about this emotion as well!



Here are seven tips to help make the transition and the adjustment period easier for all:

  1. When planning the move, consider using a Senior Move Manager, whose experience dealing with transitions to assisted living and nursing facilities can be a big help in making decisions about what furniture, clothes, and household items are to be moved and what to do with the rest.
  2. Create two lists of questions that come up – one for issues concerning the residence and the other for concerns about your loved one.  Address each of these lists with the appropriate personnel at the nursing home.
  3. Be sure to write a medical history and profile of your loved one to give to the nursing home.  This ensures that they have a social as well as medical history and can gain insight into personality and interests.
  4. Gather family members together to discuss visiting schedules, concerns, and questions that they may have. Select a primary and secondary contact person for the nursing home to call when an issue arises.  Contacts will be responsible for passing the information along to the rest of the family through whatever means is best – phone, email, text.
  5. Discuss with family members and create a plan of how to respond if your relative complains or continually asks to go home.  Nursing home staff can help you develop this plan if you need assistance with “the right words.”
  6. Meet with the nurse and/or nursing director, the director of recreation, and the social worker within the first week or two.  Share any issues you feel are important and talk about how they will be addressed.
  7. Create a care plan for yourself for the first few days.  Be prepared for stress and line up someone to talk with and somewhere to go to decompress afterward.  Share your feelings rather than keep them bottled up.

Remind yourself repeatedly that things will get better and the necessary time to adjust and orient to new surroundings and routine will give way to a new chapter with social opportunities, activities, and healthcare professionals who care.


Let Us Help

If you have questions about assisted living communities in the Aurum Network, contact us at 978-282-9551 or on our website to locate a community near you, use our facility locator tool


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