Supporting someone in a Care Home/ Supported Living Care
When someone you support goes into a care home / supported living, it can be a challenging and emotional experience. You may feel a sense of loss, anxiety, and guilt, and struggle to adapt to this new phase in your relationship with the person you support. However, with time, patience, and support, you can learn to navigate this transition and find ways to stay involved in the care that is being provided while also taking care of yourselves. Sometimes you may also feel relieved, calmer and may feel happier in yourself. It is ok to feel either of these things everyone will feel a mixed range of emotions.
On this page, we will discuss the experience of someone going into a care home/ supported living care and explore practical tips and strategies for Carers to adapt and feel better during this time. We will also provide guidance on notifying relevant organisations and individuals about the move to ensure the person’s well-being and continued support.
We would also like to thank those who’ve supported the development of this page and their openness regarding their experiences.
Feelings of loss and grief
When someone moves into care home/ supported living home it can be an incredibly emotional and difficult experience.
It is not uncommon for Carers to feel a sense of loss and grief as they transition into this new phase of life. You may feel some or all of the following:
- Loss of a daily routine- Your daily routine may have revolved around caring for the person you support. Whether it is preparing meals, assisting with medication, or helping with mobility, being a Carer can be a full-time job that requires constant attention. When the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, you may feel a loss of purpose and structure in your daily routine.
- Loss of Connection – Being a Carer is often a deeply personal and intimate experience. You and the person you support have developed a unique bond over time, based on shared experiences and memories. When the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, you may feel a loss of connection as you to a new routine. The sense of being needed and providing emotional support may also decrease, leading to feelings of isolation.
- Loss of Control – You may feel a strong sense of responsibility and control over the person you support care needs. When they go into a care home/ supported living care, you may feel a loss of control over that person’s daily life. You may worry about their safety, health, and overall well-being. Letting go of control can be a challenging and emotional experience.
- Loss of Identity – Caring can become a central part of your identity. You may define yourself through your caring role and feel a sense of purpose and meaning through what you do. When the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, you may feel a loss of identity as you adjust to a new phase of life. You may struggle to find new meaning and purpose outside of your caring role.
- Loss of Home – For some people, your home may have been adapted to meet the needs of the person you support. You may have made modifications, such as installing wheelchair ramps or grab bars, to ensure that they were safe and comfortable. When the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, you may feel a loss of home as you adjust to living in a space that is no longer customised for the person you support.
The loss felt by many Carers when someone goes into a care home/ supported living care can be significant and complex. You may experience a sense of loss of daily routine, connection, control, identity, and home. It is important for Carers to recognise and acknowledge these feelings and seek support from family, friends, or professionals to help them cope with the transition. It is important to remember that you are still a Carer but the role which you had previously has changed.
Managing any change can be a challenging and emotional experience particularly when adjusting to a new caring dynamic. However, there are ways for you to adapt and cope with this transition.
Here are some tips for you to try:
Stay involved in the person your supports care – Just because they are in a care home/ supported living care, it doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in their care. Communicate with the care home/ supported living care staff regularly and attend meetings and care planning sessions. This will help you stay informed about their care and remain an active participant in their life.
Seek support – It’s essential to have a support system when caring for the person you support. When they go into a care home/ supported living care, it’s still important to have support from family, friends, or a support group. You can also consider seeking professional support from a therapist or counsellor to help you process your emotions. Gloucestershire Carers Hub has a support group for people supporting someone who is in a care home/ supported living care. We also provide support with health and wellbeing – to find out more call 0300 111 9000.
Take care of yourself – Caring can be physically and emotionally demanding, and it’s crucial to take care of yourself. Focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Make time for activities you enjoy and continue to pursue your hobbies and interests.
Build a new routine – When the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, it’s essential to establish a new routine that works for you. Focus on building a routine that includes self-care, time with family and friends, and hobbies or activities that bring you joy. This could be something you did before you were supporting someone or may be something completely new.
Adjust your expectations – It’s natural to have expectations about the person your supports care, but it’s important to remember that the care home/ supported living care staff are professionals who have that person’s best interests at heart. Try to be flexible and open to new ways of doing things. Seek advice if you feel something isn’t right, talk to staff at the care home to resolve issues quickly.
Keep in touch – Even though the person you support is in a care home/ supported living care, you can still maintain a connection with them. You can visit when you are able to maybe call or video chat, send cards or letters, and participate in activities with them.
Things to Remember
Here are some things to remember as you navigate this transition:
You are still an important part of your life – Just because the person you support is in a care home/ supported living care; it doesn’t mean that your relationship has ended. You can still maintain a connection with them through visits, calls, and letters. You are still an essential part of their life, and they will appreciate your continued love and support.
The care staff are professionals – The staff are trained professionals who have experience caring for others. They are dedicated to providing high-quality care and ensuring the well-being of the person you support. Trust in their expertise and know that they are doing everything they can to provide the best care possible.
It’s okay to feel a range of emotions – It’s normal to experience a range of emotions when the person you support goes into a care home/ supported living care, including sadness, guilt, and anxiety. Acknowledge these feelings and allow yourself to process them. Seek support from friends, family, or a counsellor if needed.
Keep in touch with the care home/ supported living care staff – Regular communication with the care home/ supported living care staff is essential. They can provide updates on the cared for’s health, well-being, and care plan. They can also answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Be involved in your care – Even though the person you support is in a care home/ supported living care; you can still be involved in their care. Attend care planning meetings, provide input on your care plan, and participate in their activities and events.
Take care of yourself – Caring for the person you support can be emotionally and physically demanding. It’s essential to take care of yourself during this time. Make time for self-care, such as exercise, healthy eating, and engaging in activities you enjoy.
Who to notify
When someone you care for goes into a care home/ supported living care, there are a few people and organisations you should notify:
Local authority – You should inform your local authority (council) that the person you care for has moved into a care home/ supported living care. This is important because it may affect any benefits or services that you or that person receives, such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, or social care support.
Department of Work and Pensions- If the person you care for is receiving any additional benefits such as PIP, DLA, Attendance Allowance. The change in residence may mean they are no longer eligible. For Carers under state retirement age this may also affect any claim for Carers Credit or Carers Allowance.
GP – You should also inform the person’s GP (doctor) that they have moved into a care home/ supported living care. The GP can update their medical records and ensure that they receive the appropriate medical care.
Care home/ supported living care staff – It’s important to inform the care home/ supported living care staff of any medical conditions, medications, or other special needs that the person has. This will help the staff provide the best possible care.
Financial institutions – If you are responsible for managing the person’s finances, you should inform your bank or building society that they have moved into a care home/ supported living care. This will ensure that their bills and expenses are paid and that their finances are managed appropriately.
Other relevant organisations: Depending on the person’s circumstances, there may be other organisations that you should inform, such as their insurance provider, pension provider, or utility companies.
It’s important to ensure that all relevant parties are notified when someone you care for moves into a care home/ supported living care. This will help ensure that they receive the appropriate care and support and that their affairs are managed effectively.
What to do if you have concerns about the care home
We have included a link below which outlines what you should do if you have a concern about the care home where the person you are supporting is and what to do:
Gloucestershire Carers Hub – How we can support you.
In our caring for someone in a care home support group, we bring together a community of like-minded individuals who share the common experience of caring for someone who is in a care home. One of the primary ways we connect is through our monthly virtual meetings on Zoom. This platform allows our Carers to come together from the comfort of our own homes, breaking down geographical barriers and ensuring accessibility for all members.
During these meetings, we create a safe and welcoming space where Carers can freely share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. The discussions are facilitated by a knowledgeable facilitator who ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard. Additionally, for those who prefer face-to-face interactions, we organise a monthly stroll and chat event. This event provides an opportunity for members to meet in person, enjoy a leisurely walk, and engage in meaningful conversations. Being in a relaxed outdoor setting often fosters a sense of serenity and allows for deeper connections to form.
Since the inception of our support group, we have witnessed a steady influx of new members. The growing number of participants is a testament to the effectiveness of our group and the positive impact it has on the lives of Carers. Many members have expressed how invaluable the support and advice they receive from the group are in navigating the challenges associated with caring for someone in a care home. The bond that develops within our support group extends beyond the scheduled meetings.
Members often reach out to each other outside of the designated group sessions, forming deep friendships and becoming a reliable source of support for one another. Whether it’s a quick phone call, a shared resource, or simply lending an empathetic ear, our members are always there for each other.
Some of our Carers who attend the caring for someone in a care home support group have said:
“I’m new to the group and have attended 2 recent zoom events where presentations from experts gave me really useful insights that I would be very unlikely to gain myself. Another benefit was one other participant kindly offered to share their experiences of searching for a care home and I have found this incredibly useful”
“I have made new friends and clicked straight away. So much so, that when I heard from the council that I must consider moving the person I support to one of their fully funded homes I emailed her and she telephoned straight away. So nice to have a friend that understands.”
“I cannot praise this group you’ve created more. It means so much to me to connect with others in the same position as I am and to be able to help support each other through what is still challenging times.” “Since joining the Carers of someone in a care home group, I have become more confident in asking about my mother’s care and for information from the care home. I also appreciate the information given to us by the CQC and the lovely staff at Gloucestershire Carers Hub. It is helpful to swap ideas and suggestions with other Carers, and it has been lovely to meet up with some of the people we have met on-line for a cuppa and stroll. It’s good to feel as though others are experiencing similar ups and downs and that there someone is listening, even if there is nothing to solve a problem it helps to talk about it sometimes.”
To join or find out more about our caring for someone in a care home support group please call 0300 111 9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org