After the decisions are done.
You made it. After all of the conversations, all of the thinking, all of the tours – you’ve decided which option is best for you. Congratulations. That’s a big deal. Even if you change your mind later, you’ve come a long way.
Now, how to make the most of whichever direction you chose? How to get comfortable with your next stage? How to get with the program, no matter what program that is?
If you’ve decided to open your home to get some support through home care, then you’ll have to get used to someone new coming in to your house. They are used to this, but you may not be. After all, you may have someone helping you to bathe or do other really personal stuff. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Use a recognized provider, generally referred through your provincial agency (ie. your local Community Care Access Centre in Ontario)
- Once you are comfortable with a caregiver, ask for the same individual to come regularly, recognizing that no one works every day, so you may have a few people to get to know
- Don’t hesitate to report any behaviour or activity that makes you in any way uncomfortable
- Work together with your caregiver to come up with the best way to approach an activity; let them know your preferences and needs
- Be flexible; you can’t always get care exactly when you want it
If you are making the move to a retirement residence, the most important thing to remember is that this is your home. Make it personal and comfortable, open yourself to new friendships and explore new activities:
- Make your space your own; bring in things that make you happy, like photographs or favourite mementoes, and display them in your room
- Check out the recreational activities and events both inside and outside the residence, and take part in those that interest you. You could meet new friends that make all the difference to your experience
- Get to know the staff. They are there to meet your needs and make sure you have everything you need
- Explore your neighbourhood with a friend and check out nearby eateries and shopping
- Invite your family in; this is your home and they are free to visit you here any time
Long term care is all about you - your health, your well-being and your comfort. If you are moving to a long term care residence, make the most of it:
- Actively participate in creating your care plan; you are the most important part of your care team!
- Be a part of the Resident Council and be “in the know” on the latest happenings
- Get involved in the home’s community and charity events
- Bring in a few of your favourite things from home – your grandson’s latest drawing, your wedding photo, your favourite blanket
- Take advantage of the recreation activities and try something new, like painting or a new exercise
Making any kind of change is hard at first. Remember that you are still you, and your life choices are yours, no matter where you live. Make the most of it and enjoy the changes you’ve made. You deserve it.