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Moving into a care home

Moving into a care home can be a difficult change for some people and their families. We’ve got some tips on what you can do to make it easier.


How can I help my relative settle into their care home?

Settling into a new home can be hard and you shouldn’t be surprised if it takes your relative some time to adjust. An unfamiliar room, different routine and new faces – and potentially a new area too – can be unsettling, even if the move has been much anticipated.

Here are some things you can do to help.

Bring in home comforts

Take photos and music they enjoy and help them pick out soft furnishings to make their room their own. They may be able to bring favourite pieces of furniture and even their own bed if they’re not in a nursing home.

Help them find their way around

Help them find their way around the home. It can take a while to get our bearings, so offer to show your relative where the garden or dining room is until they feel more confident in walking around alone.

Talk to staff

Along with your relative, talk to staff about their routines. If they like to eat lunch in their room or have a lie-in at the weekend, staff should aim to fit in with this rather than the other way round. Let staff know about their favourite meals too, and likes and dislikes.

Stay involved

Attend relatives and residents meetings. Many care homes offer these sessions to talk about any issues affecting residents. They may also have a relatives or a regular newsletter.

If you want to, you can ask to be involved in the person’s care, such as helping out at mealtimes.

Find out how the home encourages residents and carers to enjoy activities together.

Stay connected

Visit when you can and try to take your relative out for day trips if possible, to give them a change of scene.

Even when you’re not able to visit, staying in touch is really important. It may be possible to install a phone line in your relative’s room or help them use a simple mobile phone to call friends and family.


My relative is still struggling to settle in

You shouldn’t be surprised if it takes your relative some time to adjust to their surroundings. An unfamiliar room, different routine and new faces – and potentially a new area too if they’ve moved away from their old neighbourhood – can be unsettling, even if the move has been much anticipated.

Sometimes even after the best preparation and efforts to help them settle in, your relative may be unhappy and want to move. Tell the local council if they’re funding your relative’s place.

If your relative is planning to move to a new area, let that area local council know too and ask for a list of care homes. Keep the current home updated so they know what’s happening.

Remember that the care home is your relative’s new home and should offer a welcoming, safe and positive place to live. If you or your relative is unhappy because the care home isn’t offering a good standard of care, then see our information on making a complaint about a care home.


What should I do next?

For more information call Age UK on 0800 055 6112

Last updated: Oct 10 2017

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