Practical tips transition to residential care

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
It might be useful to gather some tips on the practicalities, many of us have either experienced the practicalities already and others may realise it might be on the future agenda. I am thinking of Obvious things, not rocket science. But things which can be overlooked when change is imminent and we feel stressed.

1. Clothes will need to be labelled with residents names.
Plenty of companies will print labels for you to sew, stick or iron on. Alternatively ink stamps and pads can be purchased which are fine on light coloured clothing only.
laundry pen markers are OK on a temporary basis only (for instance if someone else gifts an item of clothing and you don't have a chance to label it first).
Some care homes have volunteers willing to label clothes for you. Possibly someone from a Residents "relatives group".

2. Be sensible with choice of fabrics. The commercial laundries wash on HOT cycles. VERY hot.

3. The chances are (especially in a dementia unit) that Sometimes clothes will go missing for a while. Irritating but in my view tolerable, taking the Big Picture Into account.

4. Worth asking if an Activities Timetable exists.

5. Visiting. Check the preferred visiting hours.

You might or might not find visiting during Activity Sessions beneficial to your loved one. maybe for you as well.

If your caree has previously only had for instance, weekly or fortnightly visits, that may continue successfully. However, initially, it might be kindest and sensible to visit more frequently in order to reassure both sides and enable settling in. helping both sides to get a feel for the new situation.

It can be useful to YOUR resident if you can strike up conversations with other residents too. Three way conversations or more can help your caree get to know other residents.

6. Check out if residents can take some of their own furniture. Perhaps a chair, bureaux,bookcase? removal companies can transport part loads at a reasonable, if you cannot do it yourself.

Electric recliners will be PAT tested and if the care Home is good ... Don't be surprised if they steam clean the chair prior to use. It's not personal! Just H and S.

7. If the home does not have a relatives "Group" set up, why not ask if you can initiate something? groups like this can be invaluable in all sorts of ways.

8. best advice I had two years ago when I had to be separated from my man was .....to get to know and hopefully make friends with staff and management.
For me, following this advice has enabled excellent communication. Any concerns I have had have always been dealt with to my total satisfaction.
AND .... I have more personal support than at any time in my life...and have made genuine new friends.

9. Can't think of anything else right now but will return if I remember anything else which might be of use.
And of course, any further input from you guys will be welcome.


DR
Missed the obvious, Image Image

9 Alzheimer's produce a form For you to use called This is ME....hospitals and GPs in my area hand these out anyway. The idea is to fill in everything you know about your loved ones needs, likes and dislikes. You can make this as wide as you like encompassing anything from routines, food and dring preferences, religious beliefs if any, etc etc. You don't need to use the form.....just get it on paper, anything you feel with help your resident. And hand it over.

Although this was for dementia patients, it's probably a good idea for those with full cognitive abilities too. Might be something you can both enjoy working on together.
I've been sewing on labels for M for 30 years. I found Able Label (or is is Abel Label) in the Northampton area to be very quick, good, and cheap. The iron on ones aren't as good as sewing on embroidered ones, and the embroidered ones never wear out either. When applying to a garment, it's really quick with a sewing machine. Fold one end over and pin it down, and sew it on, using a short straight stitch or a short zig zag stitch. Start at the top of the label, stitch down to the bottom, up again in reverse, down a couple of stitches, then lift the needle. Fold over the other end of the label, and pin again. Slide the garment across, start at the top, down and up again, down a couple of stitches. Remove the garment, snip the ends, job done. I use white thread in the top cotton reel, then change the bobbin colour to suit the garment. (As a keen needlewoman I have over 40 bobbins already threaded!)
My mum moved into residential care this week, fortunately it's only a mile from home, so I can call in as often as I want. She was hoping to have some furniture from home but there is a large fitted wardrobe and two chests which fit the spaces better than her own would fit. I'm making short visits daily, gradually taking in little bits and pieces. Today I took in an orchid from home which is in bud, some more toiletries, more nighties. As I unpack a few things at a time, mum (physically not mentally frail) can see what I bring. We can also discuss what else she needs - when I took in some freesias, her favourite flowers, we struggled to undo the cellophane. So mum needs some scissors - she always had some in the basket fixed to her Zimmer frame when she could walk. Also consider taking some wet wipes for anyone bed bound, tissues, and perhaps some special hand cream. I've arranged for mum to have a manicure and arm massage too. Her back is too frail to cope with a head and neck massage, but a bit of pampering will help her feel more relaxed. She is already enjoying being able to have a hot drink whenever she wants, the "waitress" will happily make a second immediately. I'm so glad I followed Juggler's example. Residential care towards the end of life can be a good thing.
Thanks that is useful. maybe you will become a volunteer sewer for newbies in the future... You would be very welcome, I am certain.

Needless to say(?) ....scissors will NOT be appropriate in a dementia unit.
and yes, residential care has certain advantages. In our case, three cooked meals a day, lunch and dinner being both three courses and always with Choice.
Plus mid morning and mid afternoon snacks. All cooked on premises and special diets well catered for. And my man gets midnight feasts too more often than not!

Most of all, the safety aspect. Not that anywhere or any situation can aspire to be 100 per cent safe.
For mum, it's the availability of help when she needs it. At home, she had 3 carer visits a day, and was often tucked up for night at 7pm, due to lack of staff, even on a lovely summer's evening. Then there was a 12 hour period without anyone to make her a drink, or assist going to the toilet. Now, she has people at hand whenever she needs them. No need to worry about going to the toilet to order!
The best advice I can give is to have several stays in respite at the home you are considering for long-term care for a week or two first, ideally over a year or two: that reduces the stress of transition greatly, and gives a chance to make an informed decision. "Its to give you a break Mum, and so I can get a well-earned holiday to recharge my batteries" is often the best line to take.
My husband has been in a residential home for just on three months now, and I can relate to all the comments here. Dancedintherain's initial posting is spot-on and really useful as a checklist.

I can see that his clothes are going to wear out fast because of the harsh laundering, and there is no question of providing garments like hand-knitted sweaters; they would turn into felt at the first wash.

Things certainly do go missing. This week his left slipper has disappeared (all footwear has been labelled, too, with stick-on Dymo labels). Weird. I can only think my husband abandoned it somewhere in the building in a moment of distraction, and it will eventually turn up again. Another strange thing: the kind of pyjamas my husband likes are those made of thin cotton jersey that look like a t-shirt and thin jogging trousers. When he moved in there he had three sets of these, two of them brand new. But not all the staff recognise them as pyjamas (even though the labels say 'nightwear'), so I have often gone in and found him wearing pj tops or trousers in the day. A couple of weeks ago my stepdaughter, after one of her visits, informed me in a loud and aggrieved fashion that she had been told he 'had only one pair of pyjamas' and that I must buy more, pronto. Sigh. Anyway, I have now got him a couple of sets of traditional striped pyjama trousers and jackets. I thought at first I could keep his clothes neatly sorted on the shelves in his wardrobe (sweaters, t-shirts, trousers, pyjamas, underwear, socks, in order) but no chance. The staff put things in wherever there is the space, and anyway, he continually rearranges things himself...

For me, one of the huge changes brought about by moving him into a home is that I can actually SLEEP at nights again, because I don't have to worry about him all night. I hadn't realised how badly, and how little, I was sleeping. Spending shorter periods of time with him, having slept properly the previous night, has had a noticeable effect on my mood and temper; I am able to be far more patient with him than I was when he was at home.

Tristesa
Tristesa, thanks for reminding me to do the new slippers. When my son became a boarder at school I labelled absolutely everything in the end. I found that clothes with labels which were machine sewn on stayed around longer! It's also really important to put the labels in obvious places, the neck of a shirt, the back of the waistband for trousers. Busy staff don't have time to hunt for labels. Socks can be a bit of a challenge, if sewn at either end they would tend to tear the sock, so I would fold the label in half and then sew it on.
I have to sew the embroidered name-tapes in by hand, Bowlingbun, and it is a pain. My sewing is far from elegant (though I can sew a knitted garment together neatly enough) but as long as the labels stay in place, who cares! I also got name-labels in stick-on and iron-on versions before he went into the home, and have used the stick-on ones on things like shoes, and the iron-on ones on underwear etc. They seem to be lasting okay. Staff at the home often add his room number to things using a marking pen.

I bought a little Dymo labeller recently, and this is really good for putting name stickers on objects like table-lamps, TV remote controls and pictures. One can get different types of tape for the device, and set different sizes of print from tiny to quite bold. It is also fun to use, except that the keyboard is in alphabetic order rather than a QWERTY board, so that it takes me ages to find each letter... Image

Tristesa