How to feel at home in a care home

At Barchester, we understand that moving into a residential care home can be an emotional experience, both for families and individuals. While it is most definitely a lifestyle change, it doesn’t need to be a negative one! Our residents live happy and fulfilled lives at our care homes through meaningful activities, nutritious food, gentle exercise and an active social life. We’re confident we can help every individual make the most out of their experiences living in assisted care accommodation. But in the meantime, we have put together some helpful tips for those making the initial transition to full-time residential care, helping them to feel at home and at ease.

Ease into full-time residential care

Like with any changes over the course of someone’s life, moving into a residential care home should be thoroughly planned and thought-out. And importantly, we advise that the transition should be taken gradually. In particular, sorting through decades of possessions and family clutter can be daunting, so it is advisable to start the downsizing process at least six months in advance! Although smaller items can be accommodated, it’s often a good idea to have a relative look after any larger heirlooms that just can’t be parted with.

As the moving date nears, it’s a great idea for individuals to start getting to know their new home. If regular trips are made to the new care home in the run up to the move, you will be able to familiarise yourself with the layout of the property, ultimately feeling less disorientated when you finally do move. Plus, you will start to build relationships with the permanent residents and staff who will become your day-to-day companions in the future. It would be useful to provide the new home with information on family and personal history too, so they can really get to know you. Similarly, it could be a good idea to arrange a respite care break before the move, in order to have the best chance of becoming accustomed to your new surroundings. 

Making a new home feel like home

After carefully downsizing, it’s time to decorate your new accommodation with your most important personal possessions. This exercise is about creating familiarity, not just comfort. It’s great if family members can also interchange these personal possessions occasionally or add new items to brighten up the room. Perhaps they can deliver fresh plants, new family photos or paintings from grandchildren. It’s also a great idea to create a ‘cyclical’ wardrobe. In other words, swap winter for summer clothing and vice versa. This helps to save space and ensures the bedroom is not overwhelmed with items, leaving more room for visitors!

Getting stuck into life in a new home

One of the best ways to really get the most out of your care home is to take advantage of the great activities and facilities on offer. These activities make up the most important part of all our days at Barchester and we ensure that all interests are catered for. Aside from offering mental stimulation, gentle exercise and entertainment, taking part in our activities is an extremely social experience, allowing individuals to further strengthen their new friendships.

Arranging visits

We are confident our helpful staff and fantastic facilities will allow all new residents to feel at home in no time at all, but of course, visits from family and friends are really important too. A frequently asked question in this regard is how long to leave it before scheduling the first visit? Naturally, every individual is different and all residents settle in at different rates. Perhaps it is best to start with a shorter visit and build up to longer ones in time.