Daily life after moving into a care home – experiences from older people, relatives and contact persons


  • Ingegerd Andersson MSc, RNT,

  • Elisabet Pettersson MSc, RNT,

  • Birgitta Sidenvall PhD, RNT

Birgitta Sidenvall
Department of Nursing Science
School of Health Sciences
Jönköping University
PO Box 1026
SE-551 11 Jönköping
Telephone: +46 36 15 77 00
E-mail: birgitta.sidenvall@hhj.hj.se


Aims and objectives.  To describe older people's experiences of daily life at the care home after admittance with respect to their perceptions of participation in the decision to move. Furthermore, the aim was to study the experiences of their relatives and contact persons with respect to the daily life of the same residents.

Background.  When older persons move into a care home, the whole family often play an important part. Thus, it is interesting to study how newly admitted older people, their relatives and staff members experience daily life in a modern care home.

Methods.  Qualitative design. The participants comprised a purposive sample of 13 residents, recently admitted to a care home, 69–90 years old, both single living and married, both moving from their own homes and from different institutions. Interviews were carried out with the older people (n = 13), their relatives (n = 10) and contact persons (n = 11).

Results.  The majority of the residents reported satisfaction with care home living. The relatives were also satisfied, secure and appreciated the privacy and homely atmosphere of the flat. The disadvantage of one-room flats was that the residents might have felt lonely. The relatives felt that the residents were bored, but few residents desired more activities, even if some of them longed for people to socialize with. For many older people, perhaps talking is the most important ‘activity’ at care homes. Concerning self-determination, some residents did not find it satisfactory.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Staff members must pay attention to residents’ need to talk with people. For many older people, talking is perhaps the most important ‘activity’ at care homes. Nurses must safeguard residents’ self-determination. When residents are in control of their lives, they may become satisfied with time.