Visiting a home in person is essential to see how they care for people and gauge whether your family member would be happy there.
It’s important to phone or email to book a visit to ensure a staff member is available to show you round. You could, however, arrive a little earlier to observe the daily life of the home and get a true feel for it.
Some people with dementia settle quickly into a care home, while others need longer to adjust – this is different for everyone.
Some care homes ask families not to visit for the first week or so to enable the person to settle in and prevent them thinking that you have come to take them home. However, for other people, visiting frequently may be the best approach.
Encourage the person to get to know other residents – for example, by spending time in communal areas – and join in activities.
Keep in mind that this is a partnership between your family and the care home. Families are vital in helping staff build a care plan for the person and giving them advice on how to meet their needs.
It is natural to find things difficult when your family member moves into a care home.
You may feel you have ‘lost’ the person, let them down or given up on them. You may also feel guilty if you’re relieved about being released from your caring role.
And you might feel lonely and isolated without the person around, and if regular contact with their health and social care professionals has stopped.
These feelings are normal, so it’s important that you have support from family, friends and professionals at this time.
Try to resume activities and clubs that you enjoyed before you were a carer, or try new ones where you can meet new friends.
Keep in mind that although you are no longer the person’s main carer, your relationship with them is just as important – and being relieved of some of your caring responsibilities may make your time together more enjoyable and less stressful.
To speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse about moving into a care home or any other aspect of dementia, please call our free Helpline on 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-9pm, every day except 25th December) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.