Recreating Home in a Long-Term Care Facility

Many families are deciding will Mom or Dad stay at home or go into assisted living or another long-term care facility. Can you make a facility seem like home? Do you have the resources to pay for quality care?

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Recreating Home in a Long-Term Care Facility
5 Min Read September 25th, 2018 Updated:June 5th, 2021

With aging comes the need for long-term care services and supports. Often, as a person's needs get greater, the individual will move from being cared for in their own home and require care in an assisted living or nursing facility. Aside from the cost and lack of independence, this can lead to depression.

Late-life depression is common among residents in nursing homes. Improved depression detection, treatment, and monitoring by nurses in long-term care settings help reduce the frequency and devastating consequences of this common but often overlooked illness. According to research, an estimated 20% to 48% of nursing home residents have active depression.

Depression Can Be Common in LTC Facilities

Depression symptoms in those who are in long-term care facilities often occur along with aging and health conditions associated with aging. These include pain, anxiety, and cognitive decline. This results in a reduced quality of life, increased care costs, greater functional impairment, and higher mortality risk.

Although depression is a highly treatable medical condition, older adults and health care providers alike too often interpret signs and symptoms as a logical consequence of advanced aging, grief, or loneliness which usually comes with getting older and needing help with normal activities of daily living.

This is why many long-term care facilities attempt to make the inside rooms a more home-like environment. Add the quality care that is required and social activities; these efforts can lead to a better quality of life and less depression.

Seventy-six percent of long-term stay residents reported that the interior of their rooms or facilities had depression reducing qualities. While long-term care can be seen as a daunting possibility, there are things you can do to make sure your stay is as comfortable and homey as possible. By optimizing your space, decor, and lighting and placing soothing household items in the room, you can make your long-term care stay as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

Making Space

A happy and healthy long-term stay begins with feeling comfortable and mobile in one's quarters. Being mobile is the number one way to stay engaged and happy as you age. In order to allow for optimal space, opt for space-saving storage containers to organize your room and maximize your space. With space-saving hangers, stackable drawers, and stackable boxes, you can eliminate floor clutter and ensure the first part of a homely stay; mobility.

Decor and Lighting

The way a room looks can significantly impact if your long-term care has an institutional or homey feeling. Certain colors for walls and even bright colors for important items can give the room a more lively feeling and make the vitals more identifiable, promoting mobility and independence. Nostalgic decors can be soothing and remind residents of a familiar part of their lives and can improve their mood, while natural lighting can give the room a homelier feel.

Homey Items

Using items that remind you of your family and comforting household items such as candles and rugs can add a homey feel to your long-term care.

Having familiar and emotionally meaningful items surrounding a resident in their room is very important. This includes photos of loved ones, mementos of happy times, and even photos of pets bring a positive emotional outlook and improves the quality of their day-to-day life. 

Photographs and photo albums of your family, life accomplishments, and lifelong memories can not only add a homey feeling but improve general mood and mental health.

Picture frames can add a cozy feeling to your room as well. Using different frames of different shapes and sizes with a variety of positive imagery from your life can add a stylish and personal touch as well.  

Make Your Long Term Stay Homey

There is a myriad of things that you can do to change your clinical long-term care stay into a comfortable and homey one. Making sure adequate space is available to move and be independent is step one to starting happy and healthy long-term care.

Adding nostalgic decor, natural lighting, and homey items such as picture frames, candles, and photo albums all add to creating a familiar feeling in the residence. Make sure to consider these ideas to transition your senior care from clinical to homey.

Paying for Care

All long-term health care is expensive and facility care even more so. However, if you or a loved one moves into assisted living, you probably will sell the primary home, and the expenses of that home go away. Yet, there is a cash flow problem that needs to be addressed.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows you the financial impact of care where you live today and in the decades to come. Long-term care is a cash flow problem and a family problem.

Remember, health insurance, including Medicare (and supplements), will not pay for most of the costs involved in long-term health care. Medicaid will cover care costs for those with little or no income and assets and only in Medicaid-approved facilities. The solution for many people is Long-Term Care Insurance. However, you must have reasonably good health to obtain coverage, so waiting too long is not recommended.

The best time for planning is when you are in your 40s or 50s. Seek a licensed and qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you in finding the proper coverage. 

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About the Author

Sally Phillips is a freelance writer with many years’ experience across many different areas. She enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible.

LTC News Contributor Sally Phillips

Sally Phillips

Contributor since November 4th, 2017

Editor's Note

Preparation is always critical in planning for the physical, emotional, and financial impact long-term care, aging, and health changes can bring to both you and your family.

These are subjects we would rather not think about today. Waiting, however, usually means crisis management and less choice and control. This is one reason many people start planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging before retirement.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the resources for quality care in the setting you desire. In addition, most policies provide professional case management to help you and your family design an appropriate plan of care. When you own a policy, it gives you choice and control. It also provides you with the best opportunity for a positive outcome.

Experts suggest researching and purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance before you retire. Premiums are very affordable, especially in your 40s and 50s. However, affordable policy plans are available for those older if you enjoy reasonably good health.

Find a Specialist

Long-Term Care specialist representing the major companies can design a plan to fit your concerns and budget. In many states, special partnership plans exist which give you additional asset protection.

Be sure you use an experienced Long-Term Care specialist. Most financial advisors and general insurance agents don’t have the knowledge or experience in this area. Understanding how the partnership plans work, underwriting criteria, policy design, and claims are crucial to making the proper recommendations. 

Besides the obvious financial benefits and access to quality care, these Long-Term Care policies give your family the gift of time. They will be better able to spend time with you as a family instead of being a caregiver or managing your care situation.


The first step is to find the cost of care in your state and the availability of partnership plans and tax incentives. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator provides specific information about long-term care in your state and the costs for care services where you live.

Other resources are available on LTC NEWS; find them here.

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