I asked some experienced nursing home residents if they had any advice they'd like to share with residents who were just arriving, in order to make their stay more pleasant. I was surprised by the diversity of their responses and the speed with which they gave them. Please add your suggestions to the comments section, and feel free to share with residents at your own facility.
· Find at least one person you trust to confide in
· Attend recreational activities
· Get a newspaper subscription and crossword puzzle books
· Read the Bible (and other religious texts) and pray a lot
· Know your medication so you can double check what they're giving you
· Be friendly and polite
· Make your room your own by decorating
· Know that you're not alone in thinking, "I never thought I'd be in a place like this."
· Read a lot of books
· Accept where you are and remember, there are worse places you could be
· Be as independent as possible
· Don't be afraid to try new recreational activities, because you might find something you really enjoy
Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at www.mybetternursinghome.blogspot.com.