Moving to a Long-term Care Facility

For many older Americans, it’s hard enough simply trying to move from place to place inside their home. It’s that much more difficult when moving out of the home and into a long-term care facility. For some adults, they may have had the same home for years or decades. 

Either way, moving out of the home into a long-term care facility is a big task, and many may find it too daunting or frightening to even begin thinking about. However, there are a few things you can do to help your loved one adjust to life in a long-term care facility if the need should arise. Let’s look at them now:

  • 1. Be Kind.

It isn’t easy for anyone to think about packing up and moving out of somewhere they’ve been for so long. So, remember to have lots of patience and compassion during this time. It’s likely they’re experiencing a lot of different feelings all at once, and that can be overwhelming—physically, emotionally, and mentally. So when you’re helping them to pack, be aware that they might need some time to stop and rest once in a while. Let them set the pace for how quickly they go; there’s often no need to rush.

  • 2. Help them to say goodbye.

Everyone gets attached to their home. It’s familiar, and that makes it it very difficult for our elderly loved ones to say goodbye. You can help to make the transition easier for them by planning a goodbye celebration that will stay with them when they move on. Things like having a dinner party with family or doing a photoshoot of meaningful people, places and things within the home can make a world of positive difference for them. 

  • 3. Plan a Purge.

In all likelihood, moving into a long-term care facility is going to mean getting rid of some things. Always remember to tread with care when suggesting that your elderly friend or family member get rid of something, as what seems rather small or meaningless to you could hold great sentimental value and cherished memories for them. If he or she seems reluctant to part with a particular something, you could suggest they give it to a grandchild or other family member so as to keep it in the family, instead of having to donate or get rid of it altogether.

  • 4. Create a Familiar Environment

Perhaps one of the reasons your friend or loved one is stagnant on the idea of moving to a long-term care facility is that he or she is worried about the unknown. After all, it’s quite scary to leave the comfort and familiarity of your home for some place filled with people you may not know that well. You can help alleviate some of those concerns by creating a familiar space for them. If you can, ask to see a floorplan of the room so you can insert some familiar elements instead of going and buying all new furnishings. An old recliner or pictures from home can work wonders in providing a sense of security in their new space. This is especially crucial for those who may be suffering from mid-stag Alzheimer’s.

  • 5. Work with staff to make the process easier.

If the time has come to make the move to a long-term care center, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of staff members if you need it. You can call the facility and inquire as to who the primary point of contact should be during the moving process. Generally, this is the general manager of the facility or a top administrative professional. If you can, take time to meet with them together either once or multiple times so as to build a friendly relationship. In doing so, he or she will be able to guide you to whom you should talk to in various situations that may arise.

  • 6. Get Involved.

Once the resident is moved in, be sure to ask the staff what you can do to help now that things are settled a bit. It could be something simple, such as taking them to lunch during housecleaning hours. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the facility and how it works, so that you can help you’re your loved one’s time there as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.