7 Suggestions To Help A Senior Adapt To A Nursing Home


Moving can be tough on anyone, particularly for seniors. If you have an older loved one that is relocating to a nursing home or other residential facility, it can be a difficult adjustment. There are some things that families and caregivers can do to help them adapt to a nursing home, and acclimate to the environment. 

Try these seven suggestions to help your senior adapt to their new surroundings: 

1. Make It Homey

Make the new space seem homey and familiar. Bring items that the senior will recognize as theirs and enjoy, like an armchair or favorite mirror. A sense of familiarity can be comforting for those that suffer from memory loss or depression.  

2. Arrange Regular Outings

Perhaps one of the biggest worries of a senior facing a move to a nursing home is that people will forget about them. Make sure to arrange regular outings and frequent visits with your loved one. It is recommended that family and friends visit often, but keep visits brief, and not during scheduled nursing home activities.  

3. Facilitate Fellowship

Not all seniors are fans of organized activities, such as what you find offered in nursing homes or senior communities. Always encourage participation, but don't push. Your loved one will comply if they wish eventually but allow them the autonomy to say "no."

4. Let Them Vent

Be a sounding board and let them vent as they adjust to their new surroundings. Be a calm and attentive listener, remaining positive, but validating your loved one's concerns or complaints. Give them some time away from the nursing home, and always reassure them that you will return to visit again soon.  

5. Become an Advocate

Help your senior adjust by becoming an advocate for them. Speak up and share concerns with staff if necessary. Make sure that your loved one's voice and opinions are heard, and that they are given the accommodations, opportunities, and choices that they need to thrive.  

6. Recognize an Issue

It is also important to recognize and admit when the nursing home—or another setting—is not a good fit for your senior. Do your research to find the right nursing home, and consider another move if the setting is detrimental in some way.  

7. Stand Beside Them

If you really want to see your senior adjust and thrive in the new setting, plan to support them throughout the entire period of adjustment, which experts say can take up to six months. There will be a learning curve when it comes to rules and norms, and it can seem overwhelming. Reassure your loved one that you will stand beside them the entire way.  

Help your loved one adapt to a nursing home with these seven suggestions. Engage staff and share your senior's preferences and information that may help them know and assist your loved one better.  

Contact a local nursing home to learn more. 


16 January 2023

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