Guide for carers overseeing loved ones moving into care homes
South Wales care home helps launch national guide
Overseeing loved ones moving into care homes can be one of the most emotionally difficult challenges facing older carers, according to a new guide launched by Age Cymru.
‘Making relationships count’ says older carers can often suffer a sense of loss, guilt and worry when their loved one leaves to move into a care home. However, carers can also feel a sense of relief as caring can be so exhausting, especially for those suffering with ill-health.
The guide advises carers going through the process to communicate with the care home as much as possible so that the homes can get to know their new resident and better understand what they do and don’t like, and what matters to them most.
It says the best way to do this is to meet with the key people in the care home such as the manager, the chef, and the activities co-ordinator. Quite often, care homes will assign a staff member to buddy up with a new resident to help them settle into their new home.
Helen Randall, Manager of the College Fields Nursing Home in the Vale of Glamorgan says:
“Moving into a care home can often be the biggest decision of anyone’s life as you are giving up the day-to-day control of how you live your life. But the decision can be just as big for the carer, as suddenly they lose control of how their loved ones are looked after. It is therefore vital that carers are not forgotten during this potentially traumatic time.
“When a new resident arrives in the home, new relationships need to be made between staff, the resident and their loved ones. This is vital to make sure that everyone feels listened to, supported, happy and content.
“We can never know our residents as well as their loved ones which is why they should have an integral part in the admission and on-going care of residents.
“Lockdown has been a challenge to us all but especially for residents and their loved ones. We have done everything we could to help maintain contact between them through regular telephone calls, various digital media sessions and ‘window’ visits. We even took on extra staff to provide one to one activities in residents’ rooms to help maintain morale.”
The guide advises that you can help settle your loved one by personalising their living space with objects they cherish such books, photographs and pictures, encouraging other relatives and friends to keep in touch by writing or telephoning regularly, and by getting involved in their care plan.
It also advises carers to take care of themselves by sharing their feelings with people they trust, ensuring they get plenty of rest and exercise, and by treating themselves with whatever makes them feel good.
The guide, funded by the Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant, is available in English or Welsh from Age Cymru: www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru/our-work/carers/making-relationships-count/ or call 029 2043 1555.