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Adjusting to life in a care home


Registered User
Jan 2, 2016
Please can anyone suggest ways to help my Father in Law adjust to life in a care home. He's been there a month following a hospital stay and previously he lived alone wasn't coping but refused all help. He did agree to go into the home but now says it isn't the right solution (there isn't any other alternative). He's very confused, endlessly pressing his buzzer, is obsessed with going to the toilet and can't remember eating meals etc. We can see life in the home baffles him and his life has turned upside down. He can't verbalise exactly what he does want but I suspect it's that he'd like everything to return to "normal" which it can't. Has anyone any practical tips on helping him to settle and how to talk with hime as I'm finding myself at a loss as to what to say. Thank you


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
Hello welcome to TP. There will be lots of people along soon with some tips. I think that most people feel that it does take a number of weeks to even begin to settle down. I would agree with what he says when he tells you tales of woe and make sympathetic noises and then try to distract him.

It is so difficult for someone with memory problems to settle into new environments and lots of this behaviour is coming from fear - maybe that no-one will come that sort of thing.

Does he go to the lounge? The company of others is sometimes helpful.Could you speak to the Manager and explain how concerned you are that he isn't settling and ask if the carers can be sure to spend a few minutes with him every hour during the day for the moment. Getting him involved in the activities would be a good thing to do if possible - have a word with the activities coordinator and ask her to include him in all group activities even if he is a bit resistant at first and tell her what he likes as well - maybe write a sheet of his interests to give people something to talk to him about (family, interests, pets, job before he retired) - if he thinks people know him and are not just 'strangers' he might settle a bit more. It is such a confusing environment.

One last thought - he doesn't have a Urinary infection does he ? Might be making him more confused. Just a thought.


Registered User
Dec 14, 2011
A month isn't very long, so please don't feel that this is how things are going to be forever. It took my mum months to really settle, and, odd as it sounds, I was probably the one who made the unsettled period longer because I was visiting and calling. Seeing me or even talking to me on the phone was the thing that was unsettling her the most.

I felt the care home I chose was the right place for her and I trusted the carers so I stopped visiting and calling her for a while. They had time to adjust her medication, she got used to the place, and she's now very content there.

It feels counterintuitive to be so hands off, especially in the early days, but going by my own experience and those of many people who post here, it can actually be the best thing.

The other thing that others here have found is that white lies can work wonders. If the person says they're desperate to go home, rather than say that this is no longer possible, it's kinder to say oh yes, let's just wait until tomorrow because the weather today is really bad, or yes of course, but the doctor says you need a few days here first, just to get your strength back.

Good luck. It's a sad time, but things can turn around and often do. I wouldn't have believed that my mum would settle so well, but she did, most people do.