Helping a Loved One Adjust to Long Term Care

Hello everyone,

When a person with dementia moves from home into a long term care community, it can be very difficult for them and their loved ones. This week, we offer some tips on helping to make the transition a bit easier:

  • Encourage families to join their loved ones for activities. This helps the new resident feel more comfortable with attending activities when family members are not present, and eases the anxiety for family members who worry that their loved one will be sitting alone when they are not there.
  • Help the new resident make friends! Recreation and nursing staff can learn as much about the new person’s hobbies and life history as possible (with help from family members), and introduce them to another resident who has similar hobbies and history.  Try sitting these residents together at meals and activities, and prompt discussions about their interests.
  • Sometimes adjusting to new food and menus can be difficult. Family members (with approval from your community and health provider) can bring in some homemade meals and favorite snacks for the first few weeks to help keep foods consistent while the person is adjusting to everything else that is new.
  • Learn what the new resident’s daily routine was like prior to moving in, and try to stay as consistent as possible, especially during the first few weeks.
  • Encourage family members to bring items from home that are familiar to the resident, such as family photos, works of art, and things they’ve collected over the years.
  • Have family members and friends record themselves reading their loved ones’ favorite poem or story, or simply saying hello and talking about everyday things like the weather or sports teams. Staff can play the recording when the resident feels anxious and wants to hear a familiar voice.

Have a great week!

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