Nursing Home Tips for Residents, by Residents

I asked some experienced nursing home residents if they had any advice they’d like to share with residents who were just arriving, in order to make their stay more pleasant. I was surprised by the diversity of their responses and the speed with which they gave them. Please add your suggestions to the comments section.

Find at least one person you trust to confide in

Attend recreational activities

Get a newspaper subscription and crossword puzzle books

Read the bible and pray a lot

Know your medication so you can double check what they’re giving you

Be friendly and polite

Make your room your own by decorating

Know that you’re not alone in thinking “I never thought I’d be in a place like this”

Read a lot of books

Accept where you are and remember, there are worse places you could be

Be as independent as possible

Don’t be afraid to try new recreational activities, because you might find something you really enjoy

Try to bring activities from your home life into your new life in the nursing home. For example, if you used to garden, bring plants into your room. If you used to do needlework, continue to do it.

7 thoughts on “Nursing Home Tips for Residents, by Residents”

  1. …Don't fret about meeting all the new people–residents and employees of the facility. You're thinking "I'll never learn all of these names, all of these new faces". You WILL remember as time goes by. Just concentrate on learning one or two each day. Before you know it you'll know who everyone is and feel like a true member of the 'family'.

  2. I would like to emphasize to all nursing home residents to attend recreational activities as often as possible, not necessarily for the activity at hand, but to be with other people. Please know, there are people in the facility just like you, it is easier to find them when you are active in the life of the facility. Also, don't be afraid to renew interest in a previously enjoyed activity even if you feel you are no longer good at it. There are often staff members who can help in adapting the activity if need be. If you enjoy what you are doing, can you accept not being good at it?

    Find out about services that may be available to you, for instance, books on tape or a library lending program. If you enjoy movies, purchase a dvd player and subscribe to a movie rental program.

    Remember it is never too late to develop a hobby, now that you have some time on your hands, why not start?

  3. SeniorSafari, that's a good point about how overwhelming it can be when first entering the nursing home, and how all those new people can eventually come to feel like family, or at least neighbors.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Sue. In my role as psychologist, I meet so many wonderful people who are sitting in their rooms telling me there is no one to talk to. Getting to activities is the best way to scout out other people like you. Residents might also ask the recreation staff if they could seat them near people with whom they share common interests. The recreation staff could identify these potential friends and provide a formal introduction, saying something like, "Did you know you're both from Georgia?" or "You're both baseball fans."

  5. Facilitating interactions among residents and fostering peer relationships are key roles of Recreation Leaders. Hopefully, they are doing as you suggest, identifying potential friends and providing an introduction.

  6. I used your blog as a focus for a discussion group and asked residents for suggestions to add to your list. Here is what they said:
    – Look to your fellow residents for support, if you are still having a difficult time adjusting, seek psychological services.
    – Coming into a nursing home brings new opportunities to be involved in a community, see how you can get invovled.
    – Be pleasant and people will more than likely be pleasant to you.
    – Get to activities, it helps you stay informed of facility happenings and you will have the opportunity to meet the residents who are the movers and the shakers.
    – If you need help ask for it.

    Many of the residents in attendance to this group were "the regulars," and were able to recognize the role each of them could play in helping their peers who may be reluctant to attend off unit activities and get more involved. Additionally, the formulation of a committee to greet and help new residents was suggested and will be implemented in our facility.

  7. Thanks for your creative use of the blog, Sue. Those are excellent suggestions from the group. (And I like the plug for psychological services.) I'm excited to hear about the creation of a welcoming committee.


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