Managing mental health and wellbeing when moving into care

Managing mental health and wellbeing when moving into care

Author: Philippa Thompson

The UK has an ageing population, and according to the Office of National Statistics in 2018, 11.9 million people in the UK were aged 65 or older. That was around 18% of the population. Age UK estimate that by 2030 this will have increased to 21.8% of the population. This inevitably means that there will be an increase in people living in private and state social care.

The ageing process can take its toll on a person’s mental health as well as their physical wellbeing. Yet stigma continues to prevent people speaking openly about issues that affect their mental health. A reluctance to talk about, or seek help, can increase the risk of developing conditions like depression.

At The Dower House, we are mindful of the importance of taking care of the whole person. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how moving to residential care may impact the mental wellbeing of you, or a loved one.

Moving into care

Moving home at any point in your life is widely recognised as one of the most stressful life events you face.

Couple this with a perceived, or actual, loss of independence, leaving a lifelong home, moving into unfamiliar surroundings and being away from family or loved ones, and it soon becomes clear there are many reasons a move to residential care may affect mental wellbeing.

When you, or a loved one, move to residential care it is not unusual to worry about a loss of independence or identity. Retaining a sense of ‘self’ and the ability to make your own choices is crucial to one’s mental wellbeing.

The benefit of structured activities

A rich and varied timetable of activities to stimulate mind and body plays a key role in caring for an individual’s mental wellbeing.

At The Dower House we pride ourselves on the wide range of activities, trips and events available for residents to participate in as they wish. In order to offer something for everyone, residents are actively encouraged to participate in making decisions about activities we hold in our home. They are encouraged to participate in quizzes and other stimulating puzzles, watch films, listen to visiting speakers and musical performances. Themed events such as a tapas or cocktail evenings are enjoyed by all.

Social interaction helps residents to forge new friendships, while physical and cerebral activities help to keep the mind engaged and faculties sharp.

Dignity in care

One of Mrs Lywood’s founding values of The Dower House was that older people should receive high standards of care and be treated with dignity at all times, a value which remains at the core of everything we do.

Our residents are a community of individuals, each with their own likes, dislikes and interests, living together in a supportive environment designed to foster independence.

Help is on hand to assist where and when it is needed whilst residents are encouraged to choose their daily activities, stroll the grounds at their leisure and, in normal circumstances*, are free to come and go as they wish enjoying days out with friends and family.

*At the time of writing, activities and visits were curtailed owing to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Consistency of care

Consistency of care and comprehensive record keeping means that changes to a residents physical or mental wellbeing can be identified quickly.

At The Dower House, we use a system called Nourish to maintain up-to-the-minute records of residents’ care. The dynamic care records and seamless handovers between shifts, means that staff always have the most up to date details of a resident’s wellbeing at their fingertips.

How to choose care provider

Choosing a care provider for yourself, or for a loved one who is no longer able to remain in their own home, can be a challenging and emotional process.

In order to help, we have put together a guide packed with useful information and questions to ask when you are speaking to potential care homes.

You can download your copy here.

Credit: Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

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