Jewish Choice residents preparing fruit for our succah

How to manage a conversation about moving into a residential elderly care home

Jewish Choice residents preparing fruit for our succah

At this time of the year when elderly relatives might feel a little frailer, a little lonelier or even a little apprehensive about their future, it might be a good time to begin a conversation about moving into residential elderly care.

Many elderly people will have lived in their own home for decades, so it’s always going to be a delicate discussion. Yet, you can overcome some of the fears with some of the tips we’ve penned here for an empathetic yet productive conversation. 

By way of example, when we’re either introducing or reminding people about Jewish Choice, we are at a distinct advantage. As soon as you enter the building, our warmth is positively palpable. It is genuine and sustained and our unwavering care is something quite unique and very evident. So, often an initial visit can quell many concerns.

Jewish Choice getting to the hearts others cannot reach

Nonetheless, for both the individual and relatives, there will be legitimate worries. So in your research and visits to your shortlist of elderly care homes it will be key to…

  • Seek a home-from-home:
    • It’s perhaps worth remembering that you are not looking for a hotel, but a home. Ideally a home-from-home where the transition from own home to residential home will not be so stark.
  • Speak to enough other relatives:
    • Those who have or have had relatives in the home you are viewing, will provide some good insights as to what the home can offer your loved ones. 
    • Such insights won’t be statistically significant and there’ll always be some negatives in your findings, but by applying your own good judgement, coupled with some realistic expectations, you’ll know if there are some moans about a lack of ketchup on the dining table and most else is positive, you can likely put a tick against that care home.

Questions might include similar to…

        • Does the home communicate well with families and in an uninhibited fashion?Jewish Choice London resident with 4 generations of her family
        • Do the relatives feel the home to be an extended part of their family or are they kept at arms length?
        • Does the home treat the residents with respect?
        • How responsive is it to your relative’s needs?
        • How proactive are the carers in interacting with residents?
        • How much forward planning is undertaken by the home?
  • Make some observations:
    • Do current residents appear to be generally happy and at ease?
    • Do the carers care?
    • Do they act in a compassionate manner?
    • Are conversation being had? Are the residents being spoken with or talked at. 
      • Dialogue is key to establishing whether the care home is an encouraging, empathetic and enjoyable environment. After all, old age should be enjoyed not endured. 
  • Establish who is doing the caring?
    • Are the carers experienced?
    • What proportion of carers are employed versus agency staff? 
      • Consistency of care is key for both residents and relatives being reassured that their loved one’s are in the best of hands. (At Jewish Choice all carers are employed.)
  • Put yourself in your elderly relative’s shoes:
    • Now you don’t necessarily have to go down the path some here at Jewish Choice have of  a virtual dementia experience and literally feel how your relative might behave in a domestic situation when performing normal everyday tasks – although it is a great insight and provides a better understanding of the significant changes that have happened in their lives. 
    • And of course not all elderly people have dementia, so by imagining your likely thought process at this time, if it were you considering a move to a care home, identifying your priorities, what your worries and needs might be and the reassurance you would like to have, you could very well judge if a particular care home ticks those boxes.

All in all, each elderly care home will have its pros and cons, but by dispelling myths for both you and your elderly relatives and doing your homework, you can mitigate those features you’d least like and highlight the positive benefits you would like, so the care home is least likely to fall short in your expectations of its promise in the years ahead.

If you know of friends or relatives who are soon to embark on the journey of considering a care home for their loved ones, do forward this blog, ask them to contact us and we’d be delighted to arrange a viewing.