Monday, November 28, 2022
HomeHealth7 Ways To Stay Connected To A Loved One In A Nursing...

7 Ways To Stay Connected To A Loved One In A Nursing Home

Nobody tells you how to deal with the feeling of powerlessness that comes with watching a loved one age. The once-vibrant person you knew is now a shadow of their former self, too frail to live independently and needing constant care and attention. So it is common for people to move their loved ones to a nursing home. 

Nursing homes are filled with residents who are just like your loved one – old, vulnerable, and in need of care. They receive around-the-clock supervision from trained medical professionals who also help with the activities of daily living. It’s different from the home they’re used to, and it can be challenging for them and you to adjust. 

The good news is that you can stay connected to your loved one, even if they’re in a nursing home. Here’s how:

  1. Visit often and at different times of day

No matter how great the nursing home is, it will never feel like home. The best way to offset this is by visiting your loved one as often as possible. Stop by for a quick chat, take them for a walk around the nursing home grounds, or have a meal together in the cafeteria. It will help them feel connected to you and remind them that they’re not alone.

Moreover, when you visit at different times of day, you’ll get a sense of the nursing home’s routines and how your loved one is being treated when you’re not there. If you have just moved your loved one, it is normal to feel scared about them being mistreated, abused, or neglected. You must immediately contact a nursing home abuse attorney if you notice signs of abuse. 

  1. Write letters, send cards, and make phone calls

When you think paying an in-person visit to your loved one in a nursing home isn’t possible, try writing letters, sending cards, and making phone calls instead. Some nursing home staff are also friendly enough to set up Skype or FaceTime calls between you and your loved one. These gestures will let them know you’re thinking of them even if you can’t be there in person. 

You can also ask the staff to take photos of your loved one doing activities around the nursing home and send them to you regularly. This way, you can see how they’re spending their days and get a sense of how they’re doing overall. 

  1. Stay involved in their care

If your loved one is on a special diet or taking medication, make sure to know all the details and check in with the staff regularly. Ask the nurse or administrator to update you on any changes in your loved one’s condition or care plan. Learn about their eating or sleeping habits or any new interests they might develop. 

You can also provide input on their care plan. For example, if you think your loved one would benefit from physical or occupational therapy, talk to the staff about it. Your involvement will not only make you feel better, but it will also help ensure that your loved one gets the best possible care.

  1. Make sure they have what they need

From clothes to toiletries, ensure your loved one has everything they need to be comfortable. Bring extra toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss. If they have special medical needs, bring along any supplies they might need, such as catheters or syringes.

Do this without being asked and let the staff know what you’ve done. Your loved one will appreciate the gesture, giving you a sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ve helped make things a little bit easier for them.

  1. Be a good listener

Sometimes, all nursing home residents want someone to talk to. However, they may not have many visitors and can get lonely. A nursing home resident survey conducted in October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic found that 76% of residents felt lonelier than usual. Nearly 65% didn’t leave their room to socialize.

So, make an effort to be a good listener when you visit. Pay attention to what they’re saying, even if it’s just small talk. Show them that you care and want to know more about their life. Of course, if they don’t feel like talking, that’s ok, too. Just sitting with them in silence can be comforting.

  1. Put together a care package

A care package full of their favorite items is the best way to show someone in a nursing home that you’re thinking of them. It can brighten their day and make them feel special.

If you’re packing edibles, check with the nursing home staff first to ensure they’re allowed. Some facilities have strict rules about what kinds of food can be brought in. 

Other things you might consider including are:

  • Cozy socks or slippers
  • A soft blanket
  • Their favorite type of tea or coffee
  • A book or magazine
  • A puzzle or game
  • A plant or flowers

It’s a little extra effort, but it can make a difference in their day and give them a reason to smile even when times are tough.

  1. Help them with their hobbies

How would you feel if you couldn’t do the things you love anymore? It would be pretty upsetting, right? Unfortunately, many nursing home residents feel the same way. Their hobbies and interests often become inaccessible when they move into a long-term care facility.

You can help by bringing in supplies for their hobby, taking them to their favorite place, or just sitting down and spending time with them doing what they love. It means a lot to them and will make you feel good too.

Conclusion

It can be devastating to see a loved one lose their independence and move into a nursing home. However, there are ways to make the transition easier for you. Keep the lines of communication open, be involved in the care plan, and ensure your loved one’s needs are met. Most importantly, show them that you care and are there for them. 

Remember, it’s the little things that count. So, take the time to do something to make your loved one smile.

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