One of the hardest aspects of moving into a care home is the sense that the resident loses their feeling of being ‘at home’. At our Devon and Somerset care homes, we know that it’s possible to make a care home feel like home. There are a few tips and tricks.
Perhaps easiest to do and wonderful for the effect it has, is simply ensuring that there are plenty of framed photos of loved ones around the individual’s bedroom. It’s also helpful to put up pictures of the individual themselves when they were in their prime. Make the photos central to the room’s décor. Also make sure that photo albums move with them. Being able to browse through albums is one of the joys of daily life and a vital tool for reminiscence therapy for those living with dementia.
Unfortunately, not all care homes are created equally. Look for one which has large and spacious rooms Make sure the room is light and airy, preferably with large windows. If you can get a room with a beautiful view, that’s particularly good. Remember that care home residents are less mobile, so a room with a window with a pleasant view will really help their mood. Just to set the bar high, check out the views from one of our rooms!
A bedspread that is familiar, as well as favourite cushions, are a simple yet effective way of making the bedroom feel like home. These adornments are comforting and can quickly transform a new room into a personal space.
Some care homes have an establishment feel and others will feel much more like a home-from-home. A central reason for this is the decorating and the style of the furniture. Whilst some clinical furniture may be necessary, especially in nursing care homes, the focus should be on functionality along with pleasant aesthetics. Decorations should use warm, light and vibrant colours, as well as patterns.
At Eastleigh, we give an enormous amount of thought to our furniture and interior design. We really want our care home to feel like home.
Remember, you can also probably take a favourite piece of furniture with you.
Mealtimes have the potential to make us feel at ease and comforted. They can also feel strange. Look at the care home’s menus and ask about things like whether wine or sherry is served. It really can make a difference!
A care home shouldn’t simply remove an individual’s independence. Their role is to support the individual to have as much autonomy and independence as possible. There are numerous ways to create this in practice. For example, is there a kettle where you can make a coffee and one for a friend? Is there a selection of books that residents can choose from? Are there social activities that can be tailored to the individual needs of the resident?
Care homes can end up with a distinctive smell. It can make you feel much more like you’re at home if you have things that bring familiar smells to your own room. For example, if you’ve always used a particular diffuser or scent, make sure they come with you.