Making the difficult decision to move a loved one to a nursing home doesn’t mean you’re giving up on them. Nursing homes offer the added safety and security that many seniors need to accommodate chronic medical conditions. Being involved in your loved one’s care can help them stay active and happy while in a nursing home. Here are a few tips to help your senior parent maintain a positive lifestyle in an assisted living or nursing home facility.
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Encourage Them to Exercise
Exercise is important for maintaining mobility and promoting a healthy weight. Just because your loved one is moving to an assisted living or nursing home facility doesn’t mean they have to give up on exercise. In fact, many nursing homes even have senior exercise classes. Encouraging your loved one to attend these can help them make it a priority.
Choose a Nursing Home with Outdoor Space
Even daily walking can be beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Choosing a nursing home with outdoor walking spaces can encourage daily walks. If possible, go for a walk with your loved one when visiting them. Even taking a stroll around the nursing home and visiting other residents is a great way to keep up with movement when it’s raining or snowing.
Plan Weekend Outings
If it’s safe to check your loved one out from the nursing home occasionally, a spa day can be a nice retreat. Some spas even offer senior packages, which can give them a discount on services like massages or facials. Planning a spa day on the weekend can also give your loved one something to look forward to.
Some nursing homes may outsource services, like massage therapists or hair stylists, who come to the home to pamper the residents. However, even if your loved one’s home doesn’t, inquire how you might arrange for them. Outsourcing spa day or self-care services can be an excellent bonus for residents. You may even find that some charitable organizations or church groups offer volunteer services where members will visit with residents.
Choose Soothing Bathroom Products
You’ll want to check with your loved one’s nursing home, but filling their bathroom with their favorite soothing products can be a great way to boost their daily mood. Smoothening lotions in their favorite scents are a great choice. A refreshing bubble bath can also ease away their stress if they have access to a bathtub.
Bring the Outdoors Indoors
Filling your loved one’s room with plants and flowers can improve air quality and mood. Surprise your loved one from time to time with their favorite flowers. Choose low-maintenance houseplants that are easy to manage. If the nursing home doesn’t allow for plants, consider fake ones. While silk plants may not offer all of the same benefits as real ones, they still make a room look fresher and brighter.
Make Cognitive Exercise a Priority
Cognitive exercise is as important as physical exercise. Crossword puzzles and trivia can help keep your loved one’s mind sharp. Some nursing homes and senior centers may even host trivia or game nights. You could also plan your own game nights by bringing your loved one’s favorite board games. Involving your parent or grandparent in TV shows or movies and then discussing your favorite characters or plot twists can also help them maintain good cognitive functioning.
Mental acuity and frequent visits are both crucial to keeping your loved one safe in a nursing home. Being aware of the most common signs of nursing home abuse can also help you be more involved in your loved one’s safety.
Encourage Participation in Hobbies
Your loved one doesn’t have to give up their favorite hobby because they moved to a nursing home. Encourage them to continue engaging in their hobbies. Make sure they have all the supplies or materials they need. Find out what hobbies the nursing home offers. Many may have crafting or sewing nights that also allow residents to meet others.
Even if your loved one doesn’t already have a hobby, you can also help them find a new one. A few great hobbies for seniors to try include gardening, genealogy, winemaking, or pottery. You can even strengthen your relationship by learning a new hobby with them. This will give you something to do when visiting them.
Nursing homes are safe living alternatives for those with mobility or cognitive difficulties. A nursing home doesn’t have to be a place that your loved one dreads. You can ensure they stay happy by connecting them to special events and external resources. You can also encourage exercise and a new hobby to keep them in good shape, both physiologically and psychologically.
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