Handling the Transition to Long Term Care

The decision to transition an aging loved one into long term care can be a difficult and involved process. Many factors will likely come into play when making such a complicated and serious decision. 

What is Long Term Care?

Long term care is fairly complex term that can involve a variety of care scenarios.

Basically described, long term care is a service that generally involves skilled nursing care for medical conditions, and 24 hour supervision for seniors that are no longer able to provide sufficient care for themselves. Options for long term care consist of moving to a nursing home or residential care facility, or arranging the services of a live-in caregiver.

Eligibility for Long Term Care Subsidies in Ontario

There are government subsidies available for some long term care residents in Ontario. Eligibility is based on a range of factors, including:

  • Health status
  • Type of long term care accommodation (only basic accommodation is covered)
  • Income
  • Applicant must already be receiving:
    • Old age pension
    • Ontario disability support
    • Guaranteed income supplement

You will have to fill out an application form and provide a number of supporting documents to determine eligibility.

Helping your Loved One Transition to Long Term Care

The transition to a long term care facility is a big move for seniors and their families. Not only is the move itself stressful, but seniors are forced to say goodbye to the comfort of home. In many cases, the person moving has lived in the house or neighborhood for years, and possibly even their whole lives.

Also, a lot of seniors see this move as a loss of independence. Offering positive reassurance and an optimistic attitude toward the move can be a big help.

Some ways to help make the transition to long term care a smooth one, may be:

  • Be patient
  • Help your loved one get closure
  • Reorganize
  • Create a comfortable new home
  • Talk to the staff
  • Stay involved

Be Patient

Patience is paramount when helping a loved one make the move to a long term care facility. This move is likely to take a considerable emotional, mental, and physical toll on your elderly relative. Trying to rush the process before they are ready will only end in frustration and resentment.

Moving to a new residence with a lot less storage space is going to mean getting rid of a lot of personal items and property. Going through everything to decide what is to be kept and what is to be purged is going to take time. Try to be as patient and compassionate as possible to ease the hardship.

Get Closure

It is not easy to move away from friends and family, and leaving the house that provided years of comfort behind. A home is more than just an inanimate object due to the good times and memories created there.

A goodbye celebration is usually an effective solution, maybe a special dinner with friends and family to say farewell.


Downsizing is pretty much inevitable when moving to a residential care unit. Some memorable items can be stored with family and friends, but a lot of furniture and other items in the house will have to go. This again requires time and patience. Getting familiar with the layout and measurement of the new space will provide a clearer picture of what can be moved and what can’t.

New Residence Décor

One of the best ways to help your loved one adjust to their new surrounding is to decorate it with the familiar comforts of home. Putting up pictures of loved ones, and bringing along a favorite old chair, books, music, and other intimate items can make a big difference for comfortably settling in.

Talk to the Staff

Getting to know the staff at the long term care facility can also be quite beneficial. Find out who your loved one’s new primary caregiver is and get their contact information. This can help bring peace of mind, knowing what kind of support they are receiving.

Building a good relationship with caregivers can help to get more information about daily operations, routines, and other important services. You can also let caregivers know they can contact you anytime with any concerns.

Stay Involved

One reason a lot of seniors are so reluctant to move to a long term care facility is the fear that they will be forgotten. Ask staff members what you can do to assist with ongoing care, and make sure to visit as often as possible. You can also take your loved out for excursions now and then for a little excitement.

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