11 ways to ease the transition to long term care

Moving your loved one to a long term care home is a difficult decision. This decision often comes at a time in a person’s life when there have been many changes. As a caregiver, you may experience a wide range of emotions. You may feel guilty or angry. You may experience feelings of relief. You may also have second thoughts about your decision. These are all normal reactions. Please know that you made this difficult decision for your loved one’s safety and wellbeing.

For some, questions such as, “Have I done the right thing? How will the staff know my loved one as well as I do? How will they know what they need?” continue long after the move. For most people, building trust and connection with the care team decreases these concerns. Your role of caregiver does not end when your loved one moves to long term care. It just changes. In this new role, you can contribute greatly by providing staff with insight into your loved one’s needs, preferences, and life story.

Here are some suggestions to help make the move easier for everyone:

  1. Talk openly about the move with friends and family members.
  2. Focus on the positive: To ease the transition for everyone, try to reflect a positive attitude.
  3. Become involved: Participate in decision making with the care team about your loved one’s care plan, and activities of daily living. Move-in and annual care conferences are a more formal way to participate.
  4. Clarify expectations: Find out what staff can provide and let them know what you are willing and able to do.
  5. Personalize the room: Bring photos, paintings, a favourite blanket, mementos, knick-knacks, TV, radio, and activities they can enjoy in their room.
  6. Sharing information: You can play a vital role in easing your loved one’s transition by sharing your knowledge about the person. After all, who can better explain likes, dislikes, daily habits, favourite foods, music, and hobbies than you?
  7. Family council: Participate in the Home’s Family Council. The Council provides a forum for family members to share their experiences, receive support, participate in educational opportunities, and receive regular Care Home updates.
  8. Acceptance: Accept that the care others give might look different than the ways you care for your family member. We encourage you to be open to making compromises.
  9. Look after yourself, too: Caregivers often overlook their own needs. It is important to find ways to care for yourself, such as getting a good night’s sleep, enjoying time alone, spending time with friends, participating in community activities, and so on.
  10. Ask for support: Reach out to the social worker to seek support in making the transition to long term care, or to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
  11. Visiting: How often visits happen varies for each caregiver depending on factors such as your health, your relationship with your loved one, sense of duty, and how far away you live. We encourage caregivers to choose what is right for them and their loved one.

At Broadmead Care, we know moving your loved one to long term care can be challenging. Our care teams are committed to helping everyone make the transition as positive as possible. You may also wish to explore the following websites for additional information about moving to long term care.

Family Caregivers of BC – www.familycaregiversbc.ca

Alzheimer Society of BC – www.alzheimerbc.org