MODULE 5. Understanding Families

The families in these videos tell their stories about a loved one moving into an aged care facility. While each person shares a common experience each story is different. By watching these video diaries you will learn how different individuals adjust to residential care in different ways, and how this can affect staff-family relationships.

take me back

Walking In My Shoes...

See what it is like for a family member to have to place a loved one into residential aged care. What do families want staff to understand about their experiences?

Click on the video to learn what the family members thought:


What’s Important To Me...

See what things are important to family members when it comes to the care of their loved one. What do families wish staff would do?

Click on the video to learn what the family members thought:


How To Connect With Families...

The key to successful relationships between care staff, residents, and family members is to form connections. How do family members think this can be achieved?

Click on the video to learn what the family members thought:


About the family members:

Jenny’s Story

When Jenny first moved her mother from an independent living unit into care, she felt guilty and alone. Her siblings did not support the move, even though it seemed to be the best thing for their mother because Jenny could no longer manage the long drive to assist her. To make matters worse, she did not like the first facility she admitted her mother to. Forced to find a new facility for her mother, Jenny was distrustful of staff and found it difficult to hand over her mother’s care. She worried that she needed to watch staff constantly to ensure her mother was looked after. Over time, with positive communication and a teamwork approach at her mother’s current facility, Jenny discovered the ways in which she could still remain a hugely important part of her mother’s life and remain involved with care.

Michelle’s Story

After Michelle’s mother died, she and her siblings noticed that their dad was becoming increasingly forgetful. At first they thought he was depressed, but eventually, they realised it was more than that. After he was diagnosed with dementia, Michelle cared for him at home for twelve years, but as his condition progressed, she and her siblings had a difficult choice to make. They had always sworn that they would never put their dad into a nursing home, so how could they ‘give up’ on him now? Developing positive relationships with the staff early on was really important to Michelle and made a huge difference to how they felt about their decision.

Trish’s Story

When Trish’s mother was diagnosed with dementia, she was working and had two small children to take care of. The competing demands of a family and an older mother with dementia were too much, and she had to make the difficult decision to place her mother into care. Years later, she and her husband moved her mother-in-law into the same facility. While her mother had flourished in the facility, her mother-in-law and the family found the decision difficult as “Nonna” could not speak English and did not want to move out of her own home. Knowing that the staff cared about her loved one was helpful, as well as the support she and her husband received from other families.

Irene’s Story

Irene’s mother was not ready to go into care, which made the decision twice as difficult. Her mother first moved into a low-care facility, but then, as her care needs increased, she moved into a different high-care facility. Irene found that there were differences between her own expectations, and the staff’s expectations and this was very challenging for her. She wanted to be involved in her mother’s care, but she didn’t want to be seen by the staff as demanding. Communication and understanding was the key to a way forward.


You have now concluded this module. Please speak to your manager if you have any further questions or concerns.