Transitioning from independent living into an Aged Care Home can cause significant emotional stress. Not only will your loved one suddenly enter a strange, unfamiliar environment, but they may start to experience profound isolation, too.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 52% of permanent aged care home residents exhibit symptoms of depression. However, according to Beyond Blue, close family connections and friendships help older people improve their emotional well-being.

Therefore, you must do everything possible to keep your loved one happy in a Nursing Home. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips so you can help them ward off the Aged Care blues.

1. Schedule regular visits

It’s common for an Aged Care resident to experience loneliness, especially in the early stages as they become accustomed to their new home. The best way to combat isolation and quash feelings of abandonment is to schedule frequent visits—the occasional telephone call won’t do.

To keep the visits more lively and enjoyable, try to think of fun activities you can both enjoy. After all, you can only sit around and chat for so long before you run out of things to say.

Of course, you’ll need to factor in your loved one’s physical and mental capabilities. Some of our favourite shared activity ideas include:

  • Making music together
  • Playing cards
  • Reading a book together
  • Making arts and crafts
  • Cooking or baking
  • Playing board games
  • Watching a film

2. Get them out of the home

Whether you’re 8 or 80, being cooped up inside all day is no fun at all. Taking your loved one out for a day trip can help snap them out of their depressive state.

If they’re well enough to leave the Nursing Home, obtain permission from staff to take them off-site for a day. Again, you’ll need to think of fun, affordable activities your loved one will enjoy. Consider their interests and physical capabilities, then choose one of the following ideas (or come up with your own):

  • A long, lazy lunch at their favourite restaurant
  • A pampering session at a spa or hair salon
  • A game of lawn bowls at the local RSL
  • A picnic or gentle bushwalk
  • Bird-watching
  • A boat ride
  • Shopping
  • Visiting museums or galleries
  • Going to a concert or the theatre

Exposing your loved one to stimulating new environments can work wonders at bolstering their mental well-being.

3. Make their new home feel like home

The worst part of transitioning into an Aged Care facility is abandoning your cosy, familiar home. Many new residents had lived at their previous address for decades, so the prompt change of scenery can be quite a shock.

  • Try replicating the familiar feeling of home to soften the move:
  • Place photos of friends and family around the room
  • Bring in their favourite furniture, memorabilia, or family heirlooms
  • Stock their bed with familiar cushions, pillows, or blankets
  • Use scented oils, fresh flowers, or incense to replicate the aroma of home

Every facility has unique rules, so always ask staff before bringing any new items in. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions.

4. Check in on often

Your loved one may be reluctant to raise any issues they’re having with the nursing home as they don’t want to make a fuss. Therefore, it’s crucial to check in with them often, enquiring about the standard of care and listening to their concerns.

Ask whether there’s anything you or the staff could do to make their life more comfortable. Resolve what you can yourself, and schedule a meeting with management to discuss any further concerns.

The Nursing Home may agree to organise additional activities or consider special requests to help keep your loved one comfortable and content.  

5. Stay positive

A positive outlook will rub off on your loved one and help them overcome negative emotions. A reassuring approach is essential during the initial stages of the move, when your loved one may find the entire ordeal overwhelming.

By cheerfully offering ongoing support, you’ll provide emotional comfort and help smoothen the transition. A positive outlook is equally important during the final stage of life and complex medical procedures.  

How CareAbout can help

Life in a Nursing Home can feel overwhelming, especially for new residents becoming accustomed to a strange environment. But by following these tips, you can help your loved one feel happier and more at home. Whether you’re searching for a new Aged Care facility or considering a switch, CareAbout can help. We provide FREE, fully customised advice to help carers find a suitable Nursing Home for their loved one. Contact our team today to see what we can do for you.