September is a month where spring arrives, the weather is warming up and balmy nights are just around the corner. With the change in season, it’s also a reminder to raise awareness about mental health and start a meaningful conversation with your closest ones. In light of RU OK? Day which is marked on September 8th, this harm prevention charity encourages people to stay connected and have conversations which can help others through difficult times in their lives.
Contributing to suicide prevention efforts by encouraging people to invest more time in their personal relationships, we thought that this was the perfect time to suggest some ways you can support your loved one in aged care, whether it’s through the initial transition into an aged care home or simply keeping the relationship strong with new expectations and way of life.
The next time you think about your Mum, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt or Cousin, keep these tips in mind to check in, and most importantly ask if they’re ok.
Have a conversation
Something as simple as setting time aside weekly, fortnightly, or monthly is vital in checking in and seeing how your loved one is going. Set a time with no distractions, and simply sit there and listen. They may open up and share what’s on their mind, or ask for your advice; either way, this is a time to cherish and really be present.
Use these four steps to have a conversation that could change a life:
1. Ask R U OK?
3. Encourage action
4. Check in
We know what’s it’s like to vent to a close friend or ask for help with a situation, so this is a very valuable way to support someone’s mental health. It’s a chance too for you to also notice signs about how they’re mental health is going overall and spot if they may need some extra help.
Foster and encourage relationships
One of the most important areas when watching your loved one age or helping them through the next transition in their life, which may include moving into an aged care, is to maintain your relationship. It may tricky finding a time to visit, especially if the home is out of the way or you have a busy work schedule. However it’s so important to set aside a time to visit, call or drop in and keep this connection going. A simple phone call or cup of coffee on a Saturday morning does wonders to keep the relationship alive, while showing your love and respect for the relationship. They may be feeling lonely, especially with such a big move, and one small act like this creates a time to reminisce, ask questions and check in with how they’re doing. It also works both ways and makes sure you’re keeping your family ties strong with your loved ones even if they don’t live close by anymore. We treat everyone at Karingal Green like family and always welcome visitors to spend time in their room, out in the garden or to attend our social occasions where new memories can be made together.
Provide a sense of community
This is a vital area to provide emotional support for your loved one in aged care. Providing a sense of community makes someone feel valued, welcomed and part of a team. At Karingal Green, our staff work hard to create new activities, events and themed nights to make sure everyone’s hobbies and interests are met. From gardening club, Men’s Shed, art class to bingo afternoons and happy hour, all of these events are on a weekly rotation and provide a chance for residents to mingle, meet new people and create friendships in the home, all while enjoying a tipple or yelling out ‘Bingo’!
Help ensure their safety
One way to feel confident about your loved one’s mental health in aged care is to ensure they feel safe. With our 24/7 care by Registered Nurses, you can be reassured knowing your loved one is in the best care possible. With different wings designed for different care requirements, we have built our home to respect everyone’s privacy and make residents feel comfortable. When you next visit, you can always check in and ask how they’re feeling and if there’s anything which can be done to make them feel more at home. It may be as simple as bringing in their favourite blanket or a beloved keep sake.
Checking in on your friends, family and loved ones is a small but meaningful act which can make a huge difference to their day. Remember, you can always reach out for help too if you’re unsure or want to provide professional support.
To support this important cause of donate, you can visit the project website here: https://www.ruok.org.au/