Guide to Moving a Family Member From Home Care to Assisted Living

Category: Alzheimer's | Assisted Living

While transitioning a family member to an assisted living community is never easy, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 27 million adults will require long-term care by 2050. Keep reading to learn more.

An assisted living worker pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair through the facility.

Assisted Living Versus Home Care

What Is Home Care?

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), as the name suggests, home care is when someone medically trained comes to your home to provide certain services. Home care is traditionally used for short-term recovery situations or managing a chronic condition by administering medications at home. Since home care tends to be charged by the hour, it’s generally not practical (or affordable) as a long-term solution.

What Is an Assisted Living Facility?

According to the NIH, assisted living facilities are for people who require substantial help with daily activities but may not necessarily require around-the-clock supervision. Residents generally have their own rooms (or apartments), enjoy communal areas, and have access to assistance with daily activities such as:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Medication management
  • Recreational activities
  • Prepared meals
  • Grooming services
  • Up to 24-hour supervision, when necessary

Depending on the facility, they may or may not offer skilled nursing facility services on the premises. At Haven Health, skilled nursing services are available to those interested in an assisted living facility. This can be crucial for those dealing with dementia or a chronic condition.

What Should We Look for During a Tour of an Assisted Living Facility?

The NIH recommends the following when touring a potential assisted living facility for your loved one:

  • Visit twice: Make an appointment with key staff members and request a tour. Make a second trip without an appointment to see everyday life at the center. On each trip, bring a copy of the Medicare Nursing Home Checklist to ensure the facility measures up.
  • Certification: Ensure the assisted living facility has state licensing and is Medicare/Medicaid certified.
  • Ask questions: Before your visit, write all your questions down so you don’t forget to ask questions specific to your loved one’s needs. For example, will in-room air conditioning be needed? How are medication needs met? What is your loved one looking for when it comes to social interaction?
  • Is this the ideal setting?: Is the facility clean and tidy? Do the patients seem well-kept and happy? Are there recreational activities and supervised outdoor time? Does the facility follow strict sanitation and COVID protocols? How trained are the staff at the nursing facility? Will there be a doctor on staff? How frequently will the doctor check in?
  • What services do they offer?: When touring an assisted living facility, it is important to consider the future. For example, maybe your loved one’s primary need right now is memory care, but as they age, mobility issues and the possible need for physical therapy could become crucial to their ability to thrive.
  • Do they offer everything your loved one wants and needs?: Are the rooms and social areas properly situated for disabled patients? Does the dining room seem welcoming and clean? Does the food look appealing and healthy?

What Are Some Signs It’s Time To Move Family Members to Assisted Living?

  • A change in mobility
  • Social isolation
  • Difficulty with personal hygiene and cleaning
  • Worsening forgetfulness
  • Accidents
  • Medical condition relapse or progression
  • Mood changes
  • Undue stress on caregivers

What Is the Best Way To Talk to a Family Member About Moving Them to Assisted Living?

Transitioning to assisted living can be difficult for seniors. According to Dr. Regina Koepp, who wrote this 2021 article for Psychology Today, talking with an aging relative can be very emotional. She recommends the following tips to make this task easier:

  • Deal with your feelings about this transition beforehand. Don’t make this conversation about you. Practice what you want to say and try to think of positive ways to respond if your loved one becomes defensive and/or emotional.
  • If they do get emotional and defensive, use empathetic statements to let them know you understand this is a difficult decision.
  • Don’t make them feel forced into the decision.
  • Have options ready when they’re open to discussing assisted living facilities as a possibility.
  • Take a break if/when they’re upset to let them adjust to the idea. This may be a new idea to them.
  • Keep them involved in each step of the decision-making process. Bring them along when you tour the facilities. Help them make a pros and cons list for each facility.

Moving to assisted living can be overwhelming. When possible, taking some time with the decision can make things easier.

What Personal Belongings Should Your Family Member Bring to Assisted Living?

When transitioning from home care to assisted living, bringing personal belongings can help your loved one feel more comfortable and make their new space feel more like home. Be sure to bring the following items:

  • Clothing (comfortable clothes should be easily accessible)
  • Towels
  • Linens
  • Personal care items
  • All prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs
  • Precious mementos (pictures, décor, etc.)
  • Assistant devices (glasses, walking aids, hearing aids, etc.)
  • Entertainment (books, computer, tablet, television, cards, puzzles, games, etc.)
  • Ask about space for specific furniture pieces if they’re important for your loved one to keep

Finding the best assisted living facility for your loved one can be difficult. Being prepared to make the decision and transition can make it easier. Haven Health offers options that can be individualized to the specific patient’s needs while providing all the benefits of a skilled nursing facility.

Are you looking for a senior care facility near you? Contact Haven Health for comprehensive assisted living facilities in Arizona. 


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How to Support Elderly Parents Moving to Assisted Living. (2021).
Long-Term Care Facilities: Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, and Other Residential Care. (2023).
Questions to Ask When You Visit a Nursing Home. (2022).
Services for Older Adults Living at Home. (2023).
Welcome Survey Participants! (2021).