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Preparing your Loved One to Move into Long-Term Care

The challenges of transitioning a loved one to a long-term care facility in WV aren’t over simply because you’ve had the conversation and made a hard but loving choice. You’ll also need to prepare your loved one to move from their current home to their new one, which poses a new set of questions. Princeton Health Care Center has helped many West Virginia families find answers that are caring and compassionate.

Start with Compassion

This is going to be a time when emotions run high for everyone. An individual who’s cognizant of the decline in their quality of life may welcome long-term care. But for someone with dementia, Alzheimer’s or a fear of losing their independence and identity this can be disorienting.

It’s important to acknowledge their feelings with understanding and compassion. It’s equally important to acknowledge and deal with your own frustrations, the guilt you may feel, and the uncertainty that comes with this. But it’s also important to understand that none of you are alone. Give these emotions a place to be expressed, but reach out to the long-term care facility for help and advice. We’ve been here before.

Plan Ahead

Because downsizing is difficult, it can be tempting to put it off. Don’t. Give yourself extra time to keep the process from being rushed, and keeps everyone from feeling pressured.


Toiletries, medications, and clothing must be packed. There are other things, like cherished photos or items connected to hobbies, that should come along because they’ll make the new space feel like home.

Start Simple

We all have that one place — a drawer, closet, or unused guest room — where things gather because we’re saving them “just in case.” If we asked you what was in there without peeking, you probably couldn’t give us a complete list. That’s where to start since it’s easiest to downsize items you haven’t used and have forgotten you even had them.


Involve your loved one in the process. You can even help the process along; if there’s something that you know is particularly important to them, insist that it be packed carefully and brought along. This lets them know that you’re looking out for their comfort and that you honor what’s important to them.

Don’t Dispose, Donate

Our possessions aren’t just “stuff.” If something as simple as a pot has memories attached to it — especially when it’s been passed down through generations — we’re often more willing to let it go if we know it can find a new life in someone else’s home. Keep it in the family where possible, and consider donating things to help those less fortunate. That turns right-sizing into a positive rather than a battle.

Digitize to Downsize

You can fit your entire record collection on a device no bigger than your pinky. You can scan photos to put them in a couple of digital photo frames that are a constant reminder of happy times without adding to clutter. Avid readers love e-readers once they get the hang of them, especially when they realize that the print size can be made friendlier to aging eyes. Consider ways to bring cherished memories along without adding clutter.

This is a Process, Not an Event

The transition to long-term care starts long before move-in day and continues long after as well. There’s a period of adjustment that follows for everyone involved. Just as our staff helps you handle the transition with dignity, we also strongly encourage your continued involvement in the days that follow. Visit your loved one frequently. Ask questions and get involved in their care. Get to know the staff and the long-term care plan that guides your family member’s care.

If you need help in choosing a long-term care facility, figuring out how to afford long-term care, or how to ensure your loved one’s well-being, contact Princeton Health Care Center. Tour our facility, get answers to your questions, and see our compassionate staff in action. Call us to schedule an appointment today.

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