How to Stay Connected in Long-Term Care

Having an aged loved one or family member in a retirement home or other long-term care facility often presents family caregivers with pros and cons. Sometimes there can be a lack of communication between family members and the facility members when discussing the care of their loved one, however, communication is key to ensuring your loved one gets the care they need.

Continue to read to find 5 tips for getting updates from your loved one's long-term care facility.

How to Stay Connected in Long-Term Care

1. Family Members Should be on the Same Page 

Nursing homes are accustomed to dealing with complicated family dynamics. For the most seamless experience, it is always best for families to decide on a plan of care and designate one person as the point of contact. This way, it is easy for the facility members to call this family member with updates, and it will be up to that person to spread the word via phone or text to other family members. This way, confusion, and arguments can be avoided about who is in charge.

It is also very important to consider having a family's point of contact listed as a healthcare proxy for your loved one. Proxy laws allow the appointed person to make any important decisions about their loved one's care. Forms to appoint a health care proxy will vary from state to state, and most of the time do not require a lawyer. Once signed and witnessed according to the directions on the form, you will then send a copy to your loved one's healthcare facility.

2. Share Your Loved One's Story 

There are sometimes upward of 40 different residents that are being cared for, and personalized attention might seem in short supply. Family caregivers must make their loved one's personal habits, traits, and preferences known to the staff. Providing any information about your family member can help staff provide the best possible care for them.

These types of strategies can help you personalize your loved one's experience:

  • Keep their room personalized and decorated with things that they enjoy—family pictures, books, games, and puzzles.
  • Tell staff about their likes and dislikes and any personal quirks they should be aware of.
  • Create a fun sign or nameplate with a preferred nickname.
  • Keep a guestbook in their room, where visiting friends and family members can record and exchange stories and updates about them. You can even invite staff to read the messages in the guestbook.

3. Optimize Visiting Hours 

If you have the opportunity to visit your aging family member in person, it is important to time your trip along their their special needs. If your loved one has a difficult time unwinding for the night, try paying a visit close to bedtime to help with their evening routine. Residents might enjoy eating meals or attending a crafts workshop with their families. Planning visits this way helps maximize quality time and reduces stress for residents, families, and staff.

4. Tech Solutions Investment 

The next best thing to in-person visits is FaceTime. Seeing your loved one's face while you talk can help you ascertain how they are going to be feeling emotionally and physically. Not all seniors have the same level of comfort with technology, and you can try the following based on your loved one's needs:

  • If your family member brought their device to their new home, try installing FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or another video conference app for them so all they have to do is swipe to pick up when you call.
  • For less tech-savvy seniors, consider the GrandPad, a simplified tablet with large text and buttons, as well as added security features.
  • If your loved one is unable to manage their phone or tablet due to any physical and mental disabilities, check if the nursing home has devices available for sharing. Request a regular schedule for staff to bring a tablet to your loved one's room for a chat via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or another video conference app.

Digital photo frames that can be updated remotely are another wonderful way for families to stay connected.

5. Offer Compliments and Kindness 

Research shows that nursing home staff experience high levels of stress and grief on the job. Though it sounds simple, a kind word or gesture might go a long way in establishing a relationship with your family member's caregivers. You can try sending a card to the nurse's station to thank them for taking care of your loved one, including your phone number and email address.

The Bottom Line 

Having a loved one in a long-term facility can provide peace of mind, but it can also present some challenges for families who want to stay on top of their care. Following these steps can help you keep in touch with your family member and their caregivers, ensuring your family member and their caregivers, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Explore the best of Denver assisted living homes today. 

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