Moving Your Parent to Long-Term Care

Is your senior parent moving to a long-term care community soon? Here are some tips to make the process go as smoothly as possible for both you and your parent.

If your parent is moving from home…

Moving from home to a long-term care community (also known as a skilled nursing facility) often involves a lot of downsizing. If your parent has not already sorted through which of their belongings they wish to keep in a smaller space and which they would like to toss, donate or give away, that job may fall on your shoulders.

If that’s the situation you’re in, don’t panic. It can seem like an impossible task (and it will be challenging, there’s no denying that), but there are plenty of resources out there to help you make the process much easier. To get you started, read these tips on downsizing from our senior living experts.

This is also likely to be an emotional time for your parent. Moving from their home of many years to a new community is a big step on its own. When you add changing health needs or a chronic illness to the situation, as is often the case when it’s time for long-term care, it can be that much more difficult.

One important thing to do is keep them as involved as possible in the process so they don’t feel like they’re losing their autonomy. Also, allow them plenty of time to process their emotions by offering to talk when they need to. You know your parent best, so you know what’s the best way to help them process their feelings.

You can also help by gathering as much information about the community as possible. This will help assuage any of their fears that come up in the time preceding their move.


Related: Addressing the Concerns Seniors Have About Moving


If your parent is moving from an assisted living community…

Does your parent already live in an assisted living community? There’s a chance that the assisted living community also offers long-term skilled nursing care.

If that’s the case, your parent’s move will be relatively simple. Although they’ll likely have to move from their assisted living apartment to the skilled nursing section of the community so their needs can be appropriately met, they won’t have to deal with the upheaval that comes with moving to a new community, learning the lay of the land and getting to know a whole new care team. Instead, they’ll already be in a familiar place with familiar faces.

The staff at the community can help answer any questions you have about moving your parent’s belongings from room to room. You can also talk with them to go over any questions you have about changes in services, costs and your parent’s care plan.

However, if the assisted living community your parent is living in does not offer skilled nursing services for long-term residents, talk with both the staff at your parent’s current community and the staff at the community they will be moving into.

They will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with helpful resources to make the transition as smooth as possible. After all, they’ve done this before! Let the experts help you so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.


Related: How to Find Long-Term Care for Your Parent


What to Pack

Many people have questions about what to bring to a long-term care community. You don’t need to worry about bringing furniture, as most communities provide furnishings for residents.

Here is a list of personal items to pack for long-term care:

  • Comfortable clothing/sweat suits
  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Tennis shoes/walking shoes
  • Socks
  • Undergarments
  • Pajamas and a robe
  • Glasses/hearing aids/dentures
  • Adaptive equipment (walkers, canes)
  • Personal care items

You can read more of our packing tips on our resources page >>

Helping Your Parent Adjust to Long-Term Care

Once your parent is moved in, there are a few things you can do to help them feel comfortable and at home. You could consider:

  • Decorating their room with family pictures and favorite paintings
  • Help them adjust their space once they get in a routine and know where the best places are for their belongings
  • Bringing plants to brighten the room and provide your parent with a hobby
  • Contact family and friends to encourage visits (if your parent feels up for visitors)
  • Give your parent’s new contact information to friends and neighbors so they can keep in touch

At MacIntosh long-term care communities in the Columbus, Ohio area, the staff’s top priority is to get to know your parent to provide the personalized, uncompromised healthcare we’re known for. You don’t need to be with your parent 24/7 to know that someone is there for them, because we have a whole team dedicated to doing just that.

Any questions that you or your parent has can be directed to their nurse and we’ll be happy to help. You won’t be on your own for this move, and neither will your parent. MacIntosh is here for you.

Questions about long-term care? Need to schedule a tour? We’d love to hear from you. Follow the links below to get in touch:

Get In Touch   Schedule a Tour


How to Involve My Parent When I Help Them

Dear Elonda,

My mom has been living at home by herself since my dad passed away three years ago. She was doing okay at first but now she seems to be slowing down a bit and I’m trying to figure out how to help her.

To help her, I go over once or twice a week to do yard work, help with laundry, go grocery shopping for her—anything she needs done. I live nearby so it’s not too difficult to make the trip, although sometimes it’s hard to find a free moment.

Mom is appreciative but has also mentioned that it’s frustrating to her that she can’t do these things herself. She’s a very independent person and doesn’t like that someone else is getting her groceries and running her errands.

How can I make her feel included with I do things for her? Do you have any tips?


Kathy M.

Hilliard, Ohio

How to Help Elderly Parents Without Hurting Their Pride

Dear Kathy,

You’re not alone—many adult children struggle with the transition from child to caregiver when their parents start to need more help.

It’s tricky to find a balance between helpful and overbearing. There’s actually a term out there for adult children who do too much for their parents: helicopter children.

“Helicopter children observe their parents aging — losing their memory, eyesight, financial prowess or driving skills — and proceed to take over their lives and become overly controlling,” journalist Gary M. Stern writes in his article, Are You a Helicopter Child to Your Parents?.

While I’m not suggesting that you fall into this category, Stern does have some helpful tips for making sure your mom feels involved. For example, he recommends that adult children have conversations with their parent to see what the parent expects from them and to only step in when necessary.

Here are some other tips for helping your parent that I would recommend:

1. Give your parent a say.

Whenever possible, let your parent weigh in on the task you are completing. If your parent falls on the bossy side of things, this may be a bit of a hassle but in the long run, it can help them feel more involved and therefore make them more cooperative.

You mentioned that you do your mom’s grocery shopping. It may take some extra time if she has mobility issues, but I would encourage you to take her whenever possible so she can still choose her food for herself.

If that’s not possible, it may be a good idea to ask her to note what her preferred brands are when she makes her grocery list. That way, she can have more of a say in what you bring back to her.

2. Let your parent handle as much as possible on their own.

This may seem counterintuitive as you want to help your parent, but the key to involving your parent in tasks is to let them do as much of it as possible on their own.

For example, if you’re doing laundry for your mom, let her sort the loads or fold the clean laundry. You can do the heavy lifting of loading the laundry and switching out loads, but let her keep as much of her independence as possible throughout the process. Another example would be if you see her in the kitchen putting dishes away, don’t take them from her hands to finish the task.

And, of course, it’s always a good idea to ask what she wants help with and what she would prefer to do on her own. She may not be able to do all of her preferred activities, but it’s good to start the conversation.

3. Keep things fun and fulfilling.

One way to help both of you feel more engaged in joint tasks is to throw some fun activities into the mix. If you only ever see your mother when you have to do chores for her, you may start to put off visits.

Whenever possible, plan a fun outing with your parent. It doesn’t have to be anything major. You could go for a Sunday drive or catch a new movie you both want to see. This will help bring some levity into your new role as caregiver.

4. Beware of caregiver guilt.

Caregiver guilt is quite common in adult children taking care of their elderly parents. Sometimes it feels like no matter how much you do, you’re not doing enough.

Psychologist Barry J. Jacobs recommends a few methods for dealing with caregiver guilt, including to accept that guilt is part of the process and to tolerate ambivalence.

“Caregiving doesn’t make us angels. We’re still cranky humans,” Jacobs writes.

If you give in to caregiver guilt, not only are you having a negative effect on your own mental health, but it’s likely that your mother will pick up on the emotion and develop a sense of guilt of her own. If it’s a negative experience for both of you, your parent may resist your help.

There is one last thing I would recommend—if you haven’t already, you may want to look into assisted living as an option. Your mom may not need it now, but if she’s having difficulties living on her own then assisted living can be a huge help.

You said that she was independent, but assisted living doesn’t represent a loss of independence. In fact, assisted living allows residents to be as independent as possible. They can still do everything they enjoy doing but with the added convenience of services and amenities designed to keep them healthy and safe. If you’d like, here are some tips on starting the assisted living conversation with your parent.

I wish you and your mother the best!


Elonda Hall, ADC, DCP
Mill Run Activity Director


Realistic Expectations for Rehab

Dear Jeremy:

My dad will be having hip surgery in a few weeks. It is something he has put off for several years, and now, his hip is in pretty rough shape. The orthopedic surgeon has let us know that he will need to transfer to a skilled nursing and rehab center afterward.

The catch is my dad thinks his rehab will only take a week or so. But I’m sure it will take longer than that. He has diabetes, and wounds don’t heal as quickly as they used to.

We are trying to set some realistic expectations for my dad before his surgery. We aren’t quite sure what to tell him though. Can you offer us any advice?

Kind Regards,


What Are Realistic Expectations for Rehab?

Dear Nancy:

It is a great idea to have this conversation with your dad before his surgery! All too often, patients transition from the hospital to a skilled nursing center with unrealistic expectations of what rehab really entails.

Here are a few things that factor into your father’s recovery:

  • Age: While it isn’t always the case, older adults often take longer to bounce back after an illness or injury.

  • Motivation: If your father is motivated and positive, he is likely to be more cooperative with therapy services. It can help hasten his recovery.

  • Baseline before the illness/injury: You mentioned that your dad has diabetes. Conditions like this can make rehab more complicated. That often translates to a longer recovery.

  • Pain management: A quality-driven rehab center will be able to help your dad manage his pain. This is another important factor in his rehabilitation.

In many cases, a rehab patient will be able to go home and continue their therapy in an outpatient therapy center. This will depend upon what type of insurance coverage they have.

Finally, a successful rehabilitation will depend upon how well your father follows his physician’s instructions after he is discharged and settled back in his own home.

We’d like to invite you to bring your dad for a visit and tour before his surgery. Meeting the staff who will help him through the next phase of his rehab can help reduce the anxiety associated with his surgery and recovery!



Jeremy Evans

Rehab Director


Tips for Moving Parents Into Assisted Living

Dear Jaclyn:

We visited my mom in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend. Truth be told, I’m worried about her and have been for a while. At a minimum, she is lonely. She might even be depressed. Some of the other concerns I have are small, but I think they add up to a more serious decline in her health.

I think we need to get her moved to an assisted living community in the Columbus area. We’ve talked a little about it before and she seems receptive, but she isn’t sure it’s quite time yet. How do I convince her (and myself) that it is?

And, if she decides to move, I want to make sure the move is as painless as possible for her. I know one of the things holding her back is the thought of packing up all her stuff and moving.

Do you have any advice for us?



How (and When) to Make the Move to Assisted Living

Dear Frances:

As it happens, your questions are ones I get a lot from adult children with senior parents. I’m going to tackle your questions one at a time, because I think there are two issues here:

1. ) You and your mother are both wondering when the right time to move to assisted living is.

2. ) You want to know how to ease the transition if your mother chooses that option.

So, let’s go ahead and dive into your first question!

Signs a Senior Might Benefit from an Assisted Living Community

It seems like you have a pretty good idea of what assisted living is, but here are the basics just in case.

Assisted living is a residential option for seniors who need a little assistance with activities of daily living. It’s not for 24/7 nursing care. So when you say that your mom is having some minor age-related health issues but nothing major, that leads me to believe assisted living would be the right fit (as opposed to long-term care).

Here are some signs we encourage families to watch for in a senior loved one:

  • Change in physical appearance, such as unkempt clothing or messy hair
  • Unintentional weight gain or weight loss
  • Messy or dirty house (un-emptied trash, foul odors, piles of laundry)
  • Problems with balance or an unsteady walk

For more on this, you might like our blog, Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living. You and your mother can also visit her primary care physician to ask any remaining questions you may have.

Now, on to your second question: how to make the move.

Moving to Assisted Living

If your mother decides to move to assisted living, here are some tips to help make the move (I’ve also included a few resources that I thought would be helpful):

  • Use a moving checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten. Don’t forget things like forwarding the mail, changing the newspaper delivery and notifying the utility companies. This moving list from HGTV isn’t specific to assisted living, but it might help you think of things you might otherwise overlook.
  • Ask the assisted living community if they can provide floor plans before the move, then decide what furniture and possessions to bring based on the space. You can use this list of Must-Haves When Downsizing to Assisted Livingor check out this resource on How to Decorate an Assisted Living Apartment to help with packing.
  • Have a frank discussion with your mother about what her concerns are and address them as best you can. You can also reach out to the assisted living community staff and ask for their advice. They’ll be happy to answer any questions that come up. Here’s a quick guide on Addressing the Concerns Seniors Have About Moving to help the conversation along.
  • Visit whenever you like, and reach out to family members and your mom’s friends so they know where to reach her. At Macintosh, families and friends are always welcome, so you don’t have to worry about restrictive visiting hours.

I hope this helps, Frances! Please contact us if you have questions or would like to schedule a personal tour.

Kind Regards,

Jaclyn Spalding, Assisted Living Director


Walking to Prevent Frailness in Older Adults?

Most seniors and their caregivers know that as we age the risk of a fall increases. It is due to a variety of reasons. These reasons often include poor nutrition, lack of muscle tone, and medications that cause dizziness and problems with balance.

Strength training and exercises that work core muscles, such as yoga and Pilates, are known to help decrease fall risk. A study published in June in the Journal of the American Medical Association shined light on one other form of exercise that might help prevent frailty and falls. The Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Major Mobility Disability in Older Adultsevaluated the link between walking and stretching and lower rates of falls and disability.

Researching Mobility and the Impact on Frailty in Older Adults

The two-year long research project involved 1,635 people between the ages of 70 and 89 years of age. Participants chosen were able to walk one-quarter of a mile on their own at the start of the study, but were still considered to be sedentary with low scores on a senior fitness scale.

Here’s how the study worked:

  • Each participant came to the research center once a month for education on healthy aging.
  • From the group at large, a random sub-group was also enrolled in a fitness program at the research center that met twice each week for stretching and supervised walks. Members were also given three hours of at-home exercises to complete each week.
  • All participants were tested once a year to be sure they could still complete the one-quarter mile walk independently.

At the conclusion of the research project participants who were also enrolled in the exercise subgroup were 18% less likely to have suffered any short-term physical disability and 28% less likely to have experienced a permanent disability during the trial study. While more research needs to be done to make a definitive conclusion, early findings seem to indicate that walking and other forms of exercise that promote mobility can help prevent older adults from experiencing a disabling injury or event.

If you or a senior loved one who has led a more sedentary lifestyle is considering beginning a walking program, be sure to do so with the support and guidance of your primary care physician.


Respite for Caregivers this Spring Break

After a long, cold winter many Central Ohio families are looking forward to heading south to soak up the sun during spring break . If you are a caregiver for a senior you love, however, taking a break can often create anxiety. Worrying about how they are managing while you are away can keep you from relaxing and enjoying the time with your family. That can be especially true if your older loved one lives alone. One solution can be to utilize respite care.

What is Respite Care for Seniors?

Respite care is designed to give caregivers a break. It might be an informal arrangement, where a friendly visitor from your local church or synagogue comes to stay with your loved one, while you run errands or enjoy some time to yourself once a week. Respite can also be provided by an aide or companion from a home care agency who assists your senior family member when you can’t be there. Another respite option that can give families who are traveling peace of mind is a respite stay at an assisted living community or nursing care center. Seniors in Ohio can take advantage of respite in a senior living community for just a few days or up to one month. Caregivers should look at respite as a necessary support for managing both their stress and their personal health.

Paying for Respite Care in Ohio

Respite care is usually paid for with a family’s private resources. In some cases, additional funding is available. If your senior loved one lives in Franklin County, the Franklin County Office on Aging might be able to help. They are the local partner for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This program is a part of the Older American Act of 2000. It provides low income adults over the age of 60 with a variety of services including an eight day respite stay at a long-term care community. If you live outside of central Ohio, you can find your local agency through the Ohio Department of Aging.

Respite as an Assisted Living Trial Stay

Respite stays offer an added benefit when an older family member who needs more help is reluctant to consider moving to an assisted living community. Asking them to enjoy a few days at a senior living community while you are out-of-town, on spring break or otherwise, can be a non-threatening way to introduce them to assisted living.

You can work with the staff from the assisted living community to make sure the experience is a positive one. Your loved one can participate in life enrichment activities that are of interest, share meals with other residents, and enjoy worry-free living with housekeeping and laundry provided. Respite suites are usually furnished, but families should consider bringing family photos, a favorite throw, and other personal belongings that can make help make the suite feel more like home.

Have you tried respite care for a senior loved one?


Top Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Dear Amanda and Lisa:

My mother lives on her own in an older home just outside Columbus. My brother and I both live a few hours away so we can’t be there as often as we would like.

Since our father passed away a few months ago, our mom seems to be a constant target for scams. Literally from the day of my dad’s funeral, it has been one thing after another. So far either my brother or I have been able to intervene and keep Mom safe. But we both worry that something might get past us when we aren’t around.

Do you have any ideas on what we should know and steps we can take to minimize the risk our mom will fall victim to a scam?


5 Ways to Prevent a Senior from Falling Victim to a Scam

Dear Marcy,

It’s interesting that you mention the scam attempts started the day of your father’s funeral. Unfortunately, criminals use the obituaries in local newspapers to identify potential targets. They recognize that the loss of a spouse often makes an older adult more vulnerable.

In fact, AARP estimates that as many as 20% of older adults have fallen victim to a scam. Most researchers believe that number is actually on the low side. Because they are embarrassed to admit they fell for a scam, seniors don’t always report these crimes to authorities

But there are steps you can take to decrease the risk your mom will become a victim including:

  • Do Not Call Registry: Sign her up for the “Do Not Call Registry.” Many scams against seniors begin with a phone call, and scammers are less likely to call older adults who are on the list.
  • Door-to-Door Scams: Families often find that as the mercury rises in the summer, so too do the number of scams against seniors. Many are tied to home improvements. Scammers identify driveways that need repair or older roofs that need replacing, for example, and pressure seniors with special “one day only deals.” Warn your mom that behavior like this is a red flag she isn’t talking with a legitimate home improvement company.
  • Check Them Out: Never allow anyone to provide care or services for your mom until you do some checking on them. If you are hiring an in-home care provider, conduct both a state and a federal background check. If you are hiring a contractor, use sites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau to see what others have to say.
  • Stay Informed: Another helpful resource for seniors in the Columbus area is the Franklin County Sherriff’s department. Their TRIAD/SALT program is designed to help older adults in the area and law enforcement work together to prevent crimes targeting seniors.

Thanks for writing to us, Marcy! It was a good reminder for us to share this information with readers during one of the busiest months of the year for scams targeting seniors.

Amanda and Lisa


How Much Does Post-Surgery Rehab Cost?

Dear Cassie:

My father will be having hip replacement surgery later this month. I’m trying to figure out how much a nursing and rehab center will cost and how much of it his Medicare will pay for? He lives in Central Ohio just outside Columbus.

Can you help? It all seems so confusing!



Have you asked your rehab center about its discharge rate? Here’s why you should.


Dear Renee:

You aren’t alone in having trouble understanding the Medicare skilled nursing and rehab benefit! It can indeed be very confusing.

Cost of Skilled Nursing Rehab Care in Central Ohio

Let’s start with the costs. Skilled nursing and rehab centers bill patients according to a daily rate. In  Ohio and in the Columbus area, the costs are lower than the national average of $235 per day.

According to Genworth Financial’s 2017 Cost of Care Survey:

  • The average daily rate for a semi-private room in a central Ohio skilled nursing and rehab center is $224.

  • For Columbus-area seniors, the average daily rate is $216.

Keep in mind, there may be medication costs, therapy expenses, and durable medical equipment charges in addition to the daily rate. Those expenses will vary according to the services each patient requires.

Paying for Short-Term Rehab in Columbus

The good news for your father is that if he meets Medicare’s requirement that he stay three nights in a hospital prior to transitioning to a Medicare-certified rehab center, his Medicare benefit will pay for the majority of these expenses.

Here’s how the Medicare Skilled Nursing Benefit works in 2017:

  • Days 1-20: His expenses will be covered in full

  • Days 21-100:  He will be charged a $164.50/day co-insurance rate.

  • After Day 100: Your father will be responsible for all of his expenses

Check with your father to see if he has secondary insurance of any kind. In many cases, it will cover some or all of the expenses Medicare doesn’t.

Be aware, though, that most insurance companies have a network of preferred providers. Coverage can vary widely depending upon whether the provider he chooses is in the network or not.


Help your parent establish realistic goals for rehab.


If your father has a secondary insurance, our best advice is to check with them before your father’s surgery to see which central Ohio providers are in their network.

I hope this information is helpful, Renee! If you have any specific questions, we invite you to contact any of our central Ohio locations or contact me directly at Whetstone. One of our team members will be happy to help you get the answers you need.


Cassie Hauber
Assistant Administrator