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adjusting to carehome?


Registered User
May 30, 2006
Dear All,

In brief, I'd welcome thoughts on:

1. how you coped with the transition of moving your loved one to a carehome and any toptips

2. if/how you helped them cope with the transition and whether you tried to explain anything beforehand?

I've outlined more below:

Mum's condition has deteriorated over the summer to the point where my dad can no longer care for her at home. I've been able to spend some draining but precious time with her over the last month, feeling the irony of the physical proximity her increased nursing needs entail, at the same time as she becomes so much more distant from us.

We've managed to find a residential home we feel comfortable with, and she moves in next Monday (and will hopfully stay there for the rest of her life). It's similar to a home she's gone to a couple of times for respite care at weekends.

A couple of people have said to me 'how are you going to prepare her?' and I would welcome any advice or experiences along these lines.

As her close family, we've noticed something that could be construed as some sort of readiness to move, or recognition that her needs are beyond us: she's increasingly confused about where her home is, and how many people share it (perhaps as a result of respite experiences) and often suggests it's time she went home to her mother. (This could also be understood as part of the regression).

If we were to try to tell her what's about to happen, I can imagine she would be very distressed and then forget what we'd said. I feel it'll be easier to reassure her of the positives - our continuing love, presence, the care provided for her - once she's in situ, but I'm not sure how much she'll register the change. It's very hard to judge.

We've been putting together a photoalbum visitors can look at with her of family and friends, though she finds it increasingly hard to focus on such detail.



Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear Helen, difficult time for you and your parents.

Just my opinions: I would not try to prepare her too much. As you say, she may or may not remember.

Lots of re-assurances, about how much she is loved, how much extra help she is going to get.

Take the photographs (good idea) she may not recognise them, but they give the new carers some insight into her life.

Would mum appreciate a soft toy. Lionel has taken to a little yellow elephant.. it sits on his chair with him. Nice toiletries, special hand lotions that you could give her a massage with.

Just take it one step at a time, and don't anticipate too much too soon.

Hope everything works out for you all.


Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Dear Helen,
I totally agree with Connie and since you already have the advantage of respite could you say that's where she is going again. It's so hard to know what to say, as, a lot depends on their actual understanding of the situation. In mum's case I didn't tell her, she would never of comprehended it and it would of only caused her to be stressed, beforehand. It took mum about nine weeks to settle in and she still asks, if she is coming home and I say not today and she accepts that. It's bound to be a very stressful time for you all at first, but, it does get better. I hope that all goes well on Monday and your mum settles without fuss. Take Care Taffy.

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Hope the move goes well, Helen. I would agree with the other posts - take it gently and calmly, don't make a big issue over the move or try too hard to get mum to understand what is happening if she is at a stage where it really doesn't make sense for her. The more relaxed you appear, the more relaxed she will be. A few things that worked well for us when dad went into a home were:

Telling him he the doctor wanted him to stay there 'for a while' to sort out his medication. We never explicitly said it was permanent, just that it was 'for the time being' or something vague like that. We kept reassuring him we would be back to see him 'very soon'.
Arranging familiar things in his bedroom in advance of his visit - e.g favourite photos put up on the wall (saves them being 'lost' if other residents wander off with things). We took some of his clothes in advance and then gradually took other things in over the next few weeks. This prevented arriving with him with a bag or case that had to be unpacked, which we thought might upset him.
We visited frequently but for short times and often arranged to leave at a meal time so that he was distracted by that; the care staff always gently led him into the dining room as we went.
We built up some little routines every visit, for example having a cup of tea and biscuit, opening some chocolates (which he loved), looking through a little photo album (I used to have 3 or 4 small albums as a variety - keeping every activity short helps). We also used to have a little walk round the home together and into the garden; I would 'chat' to other residents as we went - I think this helped him feel he was showing us round and that this was where he 'belonged'.
I did try playing some of his favourite music on tapes, he wasn't very receptive to that but your mum might be.
I really hope it goes well for you. Your mum may settle very quickly or it may take some time, so be prepared to be patient. Try hard not to be upset if she keeps asking to 'go home'. The care staff will probably be able to reassure you that this is triggered by your presence and that once you have gone she is ok.
Best of luck with it all.
Blue sea