Having worked in nursing homes for the past nine years I have picked up a few things that can make all the difference when you want to stay connected to your loved one. Below are a few tips that I believe truly work:
- Communicate with staff members
No one knows your loved one like you do. I highly encourage you to share your wisdom with the staff members who are going to be caring for your loved one. Do they have a particular nickname they like to go by? What are some of their favorite/least favorite foods? Are they an early bird or a night owl? Information like this helps us to better understand them and treat them with the person-centered approach they deserve.
- Attend Care Plans
Being involved in your loved one’s care is essential. Care plans are held shortly after admission, quarterly, annually and as needed to discuss the plan of care for each resident. Several key department heads will meet with residents and their responsible parties/family members to discuss things like nursing, therapy, activities, and dietary as well as other important information. It’s crucial to attend these meetings so you can stay up to date on your loved one’s plan of care.
- Visit/Call Routinely
Although our staff is wonderful, it can’t replace the company provided by loved ones so I encourage family and friends to call and/or visit regularly so that your loved one feels connected even from a distance. The joy a visit can bring is immeasurable. When you visit make sure to encourage them to get out of their rooms, participate in activities and socialize with other residents to build friendships and stay active.
- Send Mail/Packages
Who doesn’t love to get mail? Well, as long as it’s not a bill! Personal mail brings such a smile to our residents, whether it’s a letter, a greeting card or even a care package. Sending mail is such a simple yet extremely thoughtful gesture, it shows that you are thinking of your loved one and it’s so appreciated. I believe the best thing you can send your loved ones are photos of family and friends so that they can put them in their rooms and always be able to see familiar faces.