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Daily Living in a Nursing Home

Moving house is often stressful and it will take time to settle into your new environment.

Key points:

  • It can take a couple days or weeks to get used to living in a new aged care home

  • You are free to come and go from the facility as you please

  • While the facility hosts many different activities, you don't have to participate if you don't want to

Woman catching up with other residents in aged care
Your family and friends are encouraged to visit and depending on your health, you will be able to come and go as you please. [Source: Shutterstock[

If you are thinking about moving into a nursing home, you’re likely to experience a massive range of emotions, varying from relief and excitement to uncertainty and apprehension.

Living in a nursing home will be different and it may take a few days or weeks for you to settle into your new life.

Generally, life in a nursing home will be easier for you and many residents have reported they actually enjoy an enhanced quality of life since they moved and have an improved social life.

You will benefit from receiving help with some tasks you’ve found difficult to do and you will have peace of mind that should anything happen, you will receive immediate attention and the situation will be managed well.

It’s your home

While areas such as the dining room and lounge are communal, your room is your own. Nursing homes positively encourage you to bring personal items for your room, such as pictures, photos, ornaments, furniture throws and smaller pieces of furniture.

Find out prior to moving what extra personal belongings you can bring so you can still enjoy the things which have meaning to you.

S​ocial aspects and routines

The chances are you’ve moved from living in a house on your own or with a partner, so you’ll need to get used to a few more people being around.

However, the choice is yours as to how social you want to be; you can choose to be social in the communal areas and spend time with other residents or simply find a quiet corner or remain in your room to enjoy your own company.

Nursing care home staff are generally friendly and outgoing, and they will respect your need for privacy.

Many nursing homes have strong links to the local community. You can choose to get involved with activities such as meeting local school children or other people from other groups.

As well as adjusting to new people, there may also be some changes to your daily routines, such as slightly different meal and shower times.

The important thing to remember is that by moving into a nursing home, you’ll receive the help and support you need to improve your quality of life.

Multiple activities

Nursing homes offer many social aspects and multiple activities such as exercise classes, religious services/classes, bingo, arts and craft, concerts and outings. It doesn’t mean you have to take part - you still decide what you want to do.

You can continue to enjoy your usual activities outside the nursing home, such as attending any regular classes or meeting friends in your favourite coffee shop.

Whether it’s reading or watching TV in your room, chatting with other residents or going to the cinema with friends, the choice of how you spend your time is yours.

Partners

Some homes offer rooms for couples in the form of adjoining rooms, double rooms, or even a single unit for couples. 

This means couples can continue living together even if they have different care and support needs.

Search for nursing homes that offer couples rooms.

​Pets

While most homes do not allow residents to have their personal pets, a lot now have ‘live-in’ animals such as cats, rabbits, dogs and birds. 

Many nursing homes also arrange for a variety of animals to visit – something which staff and residents enjoy alike!

Search for nursing homes with live-in pets.

Family and friends

Your family and friends are always encouraged to visit and depending on your health, you will be able to come and go as you please to visit friends, enjoy family celebrations, go shopping and even go on holiday.

Many nursing homes also have special areas available for private functions, this means you can still hold special events for family and friends in your home.

There may be some differences to adjust to when moving into a nursing home, but as with living in your previous home, how you spend your time is up to you.

Most importantly, if you do move into a nursing home, you do not lose your rights as an Australian citizen, you still have the right to vote and are covered by the same laws.

Life doesn't 'end' when you move into a nursing home, indeed some will argue life has just begun when they move in.

How do you like to spend your time whilst living in aged care? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Tips to moving into a nursing home
Getting assessed and finding the right nursing home
Urgent admission into aged care

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