No one adjusts to life in a nursing home overnight. Initially you will feel that you are surrounded by strangers. You can no longer determine the structure of your day and are dependent on assistance from the carers. Many people also feel very lonely in a nursing home. Adjusting to life in your new environment will be easier if you can adopt a healthy attitude and embrace your new lifestyle.
As a mature individual, you know that in difficult situations in life it is vital to have the right attitude. Hold on to your memories of life in your own home, but look to the future too.
To stay in good physical and mental form, it's important for you to take part in the communal life of the home as far as possible. Get to know your fellow residents and be willing to overlook their faults. We all get slightly stubborn in old age, but hopefully also a little wiser. Go for a walk if you are physically mobile enough.
Stay active: take advantage of what's available in the home and take part in group activities, courses and trips. Board games, solving puzzles and reading are entertaining options for training the mind. Perhaps you like being alone every now and again, but try to make sure you don't cut yourself off too much. Maintain your independence as far as possible. Do your errands outside the home if your health allows you to. Go to a concert or the theatre every now and then, and take a family member of friend with you.
As a resident of a nursing home, you have the right to be taken seriously as an individual. The management of the home and the care staff are obliged to safeguard your independence and to take your wishes and needs seriously. You're also entitled to complain if you're not satisfied. Try to speak to the person responsible or their line manager and tell them why you are unhappy. Any problem can be solved if everyone involved is prepared to help. If a seemingly insurmountable conflict seems to be developing, you or your relatives can contact the Independent Complaints Office for Old Age (UBA) (Zurich/Schaffhausen, Central and Eastern Switzerland). It advises and supports older people who are being cheated, exploited or neglected.
Specify your wishes in good time with a living will. This will help doctors and family members take decisions in accordance with your wishes should you no longer be able to communicate. Consult with your doctor when writing your living will, and let members of your family know where the document is kept.
Frequent questions also arise for relatives of people living in a nursing home. Speak to the home's managers, nursing staff or, in terms of medical matters, the doctor who is treating your relative, who will provide professional information. Stay in close contact with the home's management and enquire now and again as to their view on the state of health of the person living in the home.
Give a close relative or friend power of attorney to deal with your health insurance provider.