Transitioning to Long-Term Care: How to Make the Right Choice

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By: Nadine Carlson, Care Provider Solutions

You have delayed as long as possible. Not only have taken time away from work, but you have also taken turns with family members to provide care to keep your loved one safe. There is not enough time or enough skill, and possibly the stress is breaking down relationships. It started out as a thought but now it is a reality. It is time to consider assisted living. but how do you know what to pick to best suit your loved one’s needs?

The choices may seem overwhelming: assisted living, adult foster care (AFC), a home for the aged (HFA), or a nursing home. What are the differences and how do you make the right choice between the different options available?

This article explores the differences and the steps to take so you are empowered to make the best choice:

What are the differences?

Adult Foster Care is a type of State License for a residential home or assisted living facility where care services for adults and seniors over the age of 18. Sometimes these facilities are referred to as residential assisted living (RAL), group homes, or an AFC. AFC licensed facilities provide care to up to 20 individuals. Individuals in the home requiring hospice or nursing services can be provided by an outside agency.

Home for the Aged is a type of State License for an assisted living facility that allows care for individuals over the age of 55 with over 21 individuals in the facility. Individuals in the home requiring hospice or nursing services can be provided by an outside agency.

Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, provide continuous nursing services. These services typically include nursing care, 24-hour supervision, and rehabilitation services.

Steps to Make the Best Choice

In order to determine if one of these options—a licensed adult foster care (AFC) such as assisted living or residential assisted living in a home community-based setting—is a good fit, follow these simple steps to make the best choice:

  1. You may wish to contact a placement specialist agency to help identify a location that fits your loved one’s care needs and budget.
  2. Once you find some locations that look like possibilities, check the history of licensing inspections and citations using tools like State of Michigan AFC Licensing lookup tool or the MI Nursing Home Report.
  3. Visit the facility you are considering. Observe the attitude of the staff and the residents that live there. Does the staff seem engaged? Do they know their residents well? Are the residents clean and content? Is the facility organized and clean?
  4. Ask questions to determine if the staff is skilled and trained to meet your loved one’s needs. What are the staffs’ coping and redirecting skills when they receive resistance or objection to care? Does the facility have care plans, routines, and enriching activities in place?
  5. Determine how the facility communicates information about your loved one. Ask how a doctor and other appointments are coordinated as well as transportation.
  6. Confirm all the information gathered meets the needs of your loved ones and your budget.
  7. Choose the preferred facility and a date to move.

Final Thoughts

Making the decision to move your loved one from home to a supported living environment may seem hard and overwhelming. If you would like to learn more about how to make the right choice when transitioning to long-term care, attend the upcoming Caregiver Resource Network Transitioning to Long-Term Care presentation on October 4, 2023 from 10 am to 11 am.

About Care Provider Solutions:

We help AFC owners run their businesses better so they have less stress and can ultimately provide better care to their residents. We accomplish this goal by providing free resources and teaching proven simple systems to help them succeed. To learn more visit