Settling into a new care home can feel very uncomfortable and can take time, but there are things you can do during the move, while you unpack, in the first few days and in the long term to help with settling into the new care home.
There’s a lot to take into account before moving, and a smooth move can make the change less stressful and therefore make settling in easier. So when you move, make sure you:
- Let everyone know about your move and new address
- Have a reliable removal company booked
- Have everything packed away securely
Try to make unpacking a positive experience, finding new places for treasured items and setting up a nice space. Some homes have rules about what can be done to the rooms, for example, they will only allow a member of staff to hang pictures, so ensure you have spoken to staff members before making any big changes to the room. After that, make the place your own.
Getting used to the area
You’ll likely be in a new area with unfamiliar surroundings, so don’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way, and remember this is your new home and you will start to feel comfortable there soon. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes in your room or living areas if something doesn’t seem right, and give yourself permission to make the place your own.
Get used to the layout of the building and have a wander around. Go around with a friend or family member and get familiar with all the areas of the home – this will make you feel more comfortable and will likely alleviate some anxiety about the new space. You could take this opportunity to introduce yourself to other residents, but if this feels too much you don’t need to rush things – take things at your own pace.
You should talk to the staff at your earliest convenience – they will want to know how they can assist, and you can let them know your preferences about food and living arrangements. They can also give you helpful information on the area and activities you can do.
Getting involved in activities and the general day-to-day life of the home is a great way to feel part of the community and feel more settled. Take a look at the activities offered and sign up to anything that you think you may like. This may feel daunting, but just take it one step at a time. There may be groups to join such as gardening groups or a book club. If you have a skill or hobby you could set up your own group and share your expertise. Try to keep doing what you enjoy, and speak to staff about what you want to do and they can help facilitate this. If you used to go for a walk in the morning or a coffee outside at home, then try to incorporate this into your new routine.
Keep in touch
Stay in touch with life outside the care home. Consider getting a phone installed in your room; some homes will also allow mobile phones. Homes may have internet access, allowing you to stay in touch via email or Skype. Check out the different options for North Devon Care Homes.