How to handle moving a loved one into care with dignity and compassion.

moving a family member into care

Making the decision to move a loved one into care is never easy. You may feel that they are better off staying with their family but a care home often becomes a medical or assistive necessity.  


When you find the right care home, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is getting the specialised care they need to live a better life.


This doesn’t always make the transition any less emotionally and physically draining.


Finding the right care environment

Finding a care home where you feel comfortable leaving someone you love is 90% of the battle. Don’t settle on a place until you feel confident that it’s a safe and supportive environment for your loved one, even is it takes more than one try.


What to ask when looking for a care home

You need to feel completely comfortable with a care home before you decide to move your loved one in. These are the types of questions can help you come to a decision:

  • How much freedom will your loved one have?
  • What is the staff to resident ratio?
  • What specialists if any are on the staff (i.e. physio, wound care, therapists etc.)?
  • What activities are available for the residents?
  • Is there internet, TV, radio etc.?
  • Are special dietary needs catered for (if applicable)?
  • What medical or emergency facilities are onsite or nearby?
  • How does the home maintain the residents’ dignity?
  • Is the place completely accessible for those with limited mobility?
  • What safety and security measures are in place?
  • What are the visiting protocols?
  • Can your loved one stay for a trial period?

Finding a care home in Johannesburg

You can start with recommendations from your loved one’s regular doctor when you start looking for a care home.


There are also online resources that can help narrow the search. Be sure to get first-hand recommendations and feedback wherever possible.


Finding a care home in Cape Town

There are a few online directories that can get you started when searching for care homes in Cape Town.


Frail Care has a list for the Western Cape that covers Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

This article also takes an in-depth look at finding care or carers in Cape Town.


Finding a care home in Durban

As a major city, Durban also has many care homes to choose from.


If you don’t have many personal recommendations, you can consult online directories to create a shortlist.


Then search for reviews and feedback online before visiting the most promising ones in person.


Planning the move well in advance

Plan the move well in advance and discuss it in detail with your loved one and the rest of the family. This will help everyone ease into the idea over time.


Also, visit the care facility more than once in the lead up to the move. This will help you and your loved one get to know the place and the staff.


You should also take measurements of the room they will be staying in. Then determine what furniture and other belongings can fit. You might also need to measure for curtains or blinds, if these aren’t provided.


Planning how to use and decorate the space can also help turn the move into something positive.


Personalising a care environment

Along with furniture, also plan what personal items your loved one can bring with them to personalise the room.


Choose what ornaments and photos frames will fit and check with the care facility how much you’ll be allowed to personalise the environment.


It’s not likely you’ll be able to paint the walls, for example, but you will probably be allowed to put up wall art and mirrors. Some facilities even allow small pets like fish or a bird.


Practical tips for packing up a parent’s home or room

It will probably take a few weeks or months after your loved one moves into their new space before they’re 100% sure what belongings they need and want to keep in their room.


When packing up a parent’s home, don’t be too quick to sell or get rid of things, especially personal or sentimental items.


Rather put them into storage for a while until you’re sure your loved one doesn’t need or want them anymore. If they request an item, you can then easily fetch it for them from the storage unit.


XtraSpace offers affordable self-storage units in a range of sizes, in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. Call 01 09 777 777 for a quote or browse to find your nearest branch.


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