Moving Into An Aged Care Facility

As an older person, moving to an aged care facility can be a difficult and emotionally challenging experience. Ideally, you need a period of time to:

  • Weigh up the pros and cons of moving into a residential care facility
  • Adjust to the idea that you are no longer physically able to care for yourself
  • Accept that the aged care residence is now your home and probably will remain so for the rest of your life 
  • Grieve the loss of your independence

It will help greatly, if your family, caregivers and friends view your relocation in a positive light, and offer you their support. 

The Australian Government's Department ofHealth and Ageing has a useful publication which defines the processes involved in moving to an aged care home, such as those belonging to Brightwater. Tell everyone that you are relocating, including your family doctor, dentist, other healthcare professionals, neighbours and your bank. Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address, and find out from the telephone company, if you can keep the same telephone number. Cancel any newspaper or magazine subscriptions that you no longer want. Obtain a floor plan of the facility and visit your space with a tape measure. 

In consultation with the residence you are moving to, prepare a checklist of the items that can go with you to the residential care facility, including:

  • A favorite chair or maybe a small piece of furniture that has special meaning for you. If you are in a wheelchair, remember that your space is limited, and that it's all too easy to clutter your surroundings with non-essential items that can limit your mobility. Now is a good time to give furniture to family, families or a favorite charity
  • A small bedside rug suggests coziness and provides a home-like atmosphere to the room
  • Clothes and shoes - items for summer and winter and the days in between. A good pair of slippers or indoor shoes with non-slip soles in essential. If your facility will be washing your clothes, label each item
  • Does your room in the residential care facility have a TV, radio, DVD player, a kettle for making tea or coffee, a reading lamp? If not, you might like to take your own. Check the location of electrical outlets. Is there space and hook-ups for your laptop or IPad

Decide which pictures, photographs, ornaments or plants that you want to have in your new surroundings. These familiar items will help your room feel more like home, or you may prefer a selection of different items, because you are entering a new phase of your life. If you are a reader, you may have a large collection of books. Go through the collection and decide which you absolutely must keep in your room. Others can be given away, sold or donated to a library.

Personal care items, such as glasses, reading glasses, sun glasses, hearing aids, other devices that assist with your daily activities, and any personal hygiene products that the facility doesn`t provide. Ensure that your nurse is aware of all the accessibility devices that you need for every day, as well as your medical record, and a list of your prescription medications, over the counter drugs and vitamin supplements.

Build pleasant memories by appreciating your new surroundings, making some new friends and enjoying life. Socialising and talking to new friends can give you a new lease on life and help make your new surroundings more like home.

The transition to an aged care facility can be daunting and scary, although family and new friends can make the change less so. .


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