Easing the Transition to Long-Term Care for Your Loved One

Change can be uncomfortable for any of us – regardless of age. However, as we get older change can become even more difficult.

Over the course of our lives, we can become a bit less flexible and more attached to familiar people, places and routines in our environment. In a fast changing world, the “sameness” of a consistent, daily routine and familiar surroundings is often a source of comfort, calm and confidence.   

Therefore, it is not surprising that a major life event, such as moving from home into a residential long-term care community, can be a significant emotional challenge for many senior adults – and their families.

Recognize the Emotions Involved

Collin Tierney, Executive Director and Administrator of Bryn Mawr Terrace, says, “While long-term care communities provide important round-the-clock care, nutrition, social activities and support services that improve your loved one’s quality of life, it is extremely important to recognize that the transition from home to residential care can be a very challenging one.”

“For that reason, leading senior living communities such as Bryn Mawr Terrace work closely with families and their loved ones to provide the counseling, support and reassurance necessary to make the transition as smooth, comfortable and pleasant as possible. We not only welcome family members to be part of the process, we encourage them to work closely with our professional team to make their loved one’s new home as warm and welcoming as possible.”

“We always welcome visits by family members and friends, day or night, and also strongly support the creation of new friendships within our community. Our goal is to make your loved one feel as safe, comfortable, connected and involved socially as they’d like to be.”

Tips for Making the Transition Easier… On Both of You

Mr. Tierney adds, “There are several things you can do to ease the transition and help to create a homelike environment for your loved one.”

Expert sources on the subject, including The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s “Easing the Transition to Residential Care Settings,” offer useful guidelines forcaregivers whorecognize their loved one’s need for 24-hour care and supervision for their continue health and safety. Suggestions include:

  • Do your due diligence – Caregivers need to have a high degree of comfort in their selection. The quality of long-term care providers can vary greatly. Ask yourself: Is the facility close enough to your home and/or work to allow for visitation at a level that is best for your family? Does the facility meet the specific medical, social, therapeutic and emotional needs of your loved one? Is there a Dementia Care Unit staffed by professionals with specific dementia training?
  • Talk about it – Do not let your loved one think that you are making the decision for them. The first conversation should be a discussion, not an intervention. Stress the relief they will feel by no longer having to take care of their own home (i.e. no more dealing with contractors, yard work and worrying about the snow). Prepare for the fact that the process may take time.
  • Understand the emotions involved – Be sensitive to their emotional attachment to their home and their memories there. Let them know that you understand that it is a difficult time. Be patient and understanding. Offer reassurance of your ongoing commitment and plans for regular visitation.
  • Prepare the room – Plan to have the room set up before your loved one moves in. Put in familiar objects, but nothing of significant value that could be misplaced or damaged.

Creating a familiar homelike environment for your loved one is extremely important in helping them to make the transition. The article, “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home” by Carol Bradley Bursack offers some excellent tips for creating a comfortable “home away from home” for residents of long-term care.

  • Be by their side – Accompany your loved for the actual move, and repeatedly explain that they will be okay and that you are there to help. You may want to stay for the day and have dinner together at the residence. When it is time to go, explain that you have to leave for a while, but will return as soon as you can. Assure your loved one that they will be fine.
  • Have a “housewarming” party – Take the opportunity to celebrate. Bring cherished items or new items to decorate as well as their favorite treats or dessert. Invite their friends as well.
  • Eat together – Dining together a couple of times a week can be a great way to keep in touch and maintain that family bond. In addition, residents may socialize more when there is someone new to introduce.
  • Stay Connected – Check in regularly for visits. You can also use that time tomonitor the care of your loved one on a regular basis, and advocate on their behalf with the staff and administration.
  • Ask for extra attention – Introduce your loved one to the employee who will be available during the first shift that they are there alone. Ask the staff to tell each subsequent shift that your loved one is new to the facility and needs some special consideration, kindness and reassurance.
  • Take care of yourself, too – Tap into your network of family and friends for emotional comfort. You can also seek support from others who have been through this situation. The long-term care community may host a support group on site or you can look for a support group in your area. 

By following this expert advice, you can make the transition to a residential long-term care community much easier on your loved one – and everyone else in your family! 

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate professional team treats our residents as family and respects their importance as individuals with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Providing Top Rated Care

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a continuing care retirement community, offering a range of services including short-term rehabilitation therapytraditional nursing careindependent living, personal carememory carerestorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please contact us at (610) 525-8300.

Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as Bryn Mawr Terrace or Main Line Senior Care Alliance offering legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.

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