What to take (and not take) into aged care
A look at what your loved one should and shouldn't take into aged care.
Moving into an aged care home inevitably means downsizing. So, what possessions should your loved one take, and what should they leave behind?
For all of us, moving homes means sorting through our prized possessions and memories, and doing some ruthless spring-cleaning. However, it can still be difficult to decide what to bring and what to leave behind.
Most people preparing to move in to aged care also face the same dilemma “They look at their home filled with years of memories and think, ‘How am I ever going to distil all of this down to one room?’” says Lisa Myers, General Manager at Bupa Aged Care Windsor, “but we can offer guidance and even help.”
Home away from home
Myers says that when preparing the resident’s room, families should aim to make it like a snapshot of their home. It needs to be familiar to them – a comforting place where they feel secure.
“I advise people to walk through their whole home, through every room, and consider what’s important to the person coming into care. If it’s the special chair they always sit in or the books they once loved to read, a desk or their chess set, that’s what they should bring.”
Any favourite pieces of china, paintings and, of course, photos are encouraged.
“Photo albums are pictorials of the past. We are meeting this person at a mature age and the photos tell their story and gives us an idea of the wonderful life they’ve led,” says Myers. “I cannot stress how important this is.”
Hobbies are also important.
“They may paint, crochet or enjoy woodwork, and if they have some pieces that are precious to them, bring them in. They will look lovely displayed on shelves or in a cabinet.”
Furry friends welcome
Residents may be able to bring a beloved pet to their new home. This is decided on a case-by-case basis, and health and safety concerns need to be considered.
“It depends on the type of room, but some – for example, those with balconies or private gardens – are open to accommodating pets.”
Myers, who brings her two dogs to the Windsor home, advocates pet therapy.
“Having an animal to pat or cuddle is instantly calming and gives such joy to residents.”
Safety and space
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Residents are able to have a small bar fridge in their room if they desire; the only requirement is that all electrical items need to be checked prior to use.
Aged care homes support new residents in their move as much as possible. If you'd like to speak to someone about what you can do to support them, call the Bupa Aged Care Support Line
“We often give measurements to new residents so they can work out where to put everything. The furniture can be moved around as long as we can still safely access the bed in times of need, including adequate space for staff and a wheelchair."
The most important consideration is to “look at the situation through the eyes of the person coming into care,” says Myers.
It is not just a room to decorate, but a new home to make your own.