As you age, you may require complex medical care. Or, you may elect to have a procedure that requires around the clock care and therapy before returning home. In either case, a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) could be in your future.

Skilled Nursing Facilities feature nursing and caregiver staff 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Most SNFs also offer intensive, inpatient therapy – physical, occupational, and speech – for seniors staying there short or long term. While you may come to transition to a SNF after a hospital stay or because of a condition that you can no longer successfully handle on your own at home, you will likely face a few challenges in the transition.

Transitions in any situation can be traumatic. Because seniors experience many major life changes in the retirement years, moving to a SNF can seem especially challenging or frustrating. Fortunately, if you are able to prepare yourself for some of the possible challenges, you will have a better transition experience.

Sleep disruption
Most SNFs now offer private rooms for most of the seniors that stay there. However, you can still easily experience sleep disruption that can make you feel agitated, and that can even hinder your physical progress.

To beat your sleep disruption, work on napping when you need to. Your therapy sessions can leave your body feeling fatigued, and a few well-timed naps can help immensely. However, be sure that your afternoon naps are not making it difficult for you fall asleep at night. If you are not able to fall asleep on your own at your normal bedtime, reduce your daytime napping.

New neighbors
SNF living is community living, which means you are about to have A LOT of new neighbors. This can be overwhelming for many new to SNF living, and can be overstimulating to those who may have pain or memory issues. To keep yourself calm and happy, consider meeting new friends over meals or therapy sessions. Close the door to your room when you don’t feel like socializing.

Missing home
There is no place like home, and even if you are only at your SNF for six weeks to recover from surgery, you can become homesick quickly. To help ease your feelings, be sure to talk about it with your social worker or friends. Invite family members or friends to visit you, and if you are able to do so safely, go out to eat at a favorite restaurant.

Your transition to a SNF environment can be challenging, but it can also be the best decision you make for your health. How have you handled a major life transition? Tell us by submitting your story!