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This article is part of The Third Third of Life Toolkit—a collection of resources for ministry to and with people ages 55 and over, brought to you by two ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America: Disability Concerns and Faith Formation Ministries.

Whether you are looking for a long-term care facility for yourself or for a loved one, making the right decision can feel overwhelming. The resources on this page will help you and the ones you love make informed choices. Since healthcare systems are different in the U.S. and Canada we’ve also included some country-specific tips.

General Tips

One of the most important things to remember is that each decision should involve the person who will be living in the care facility as fully as possible. 

As you look into options, these five steps are helpful: 

  • Research the standard of care at each facility you’re considering. Links below include helpful resources.

  • Visit multiple facilities in person. Request to eat a meal at each facility, as the dining experience is often very important to residents—physically, emotionally, and socially. 

  • Talk with other residents about the pros and cons of the facility.

  • Ask questions of the administrators, even the hard questions you might feel uncomfortable asking. The links below include some great checklists of important questions to ask.

Research long-term care facilities before you or your loved one needs them. That gives you as much time as possible to make this important decision, which often needs to be made quickly after an illness or injury.

A helpful but simply-written article from shares Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home in Your Area (and the tips are helpful for choosing other types of care facilities as well):

  • Location and size

  • Services offered

  • Staffing

  • Choices and independence

  • Red flags

In the U.S.

In Canada


  • What is most important to me (or to my loved one) in a long-term care facility?

  • Given my/our family medical history, what issues or health problems are we more likely to encounter late in life? 

  • How can I make sure that my loved one’s needs and wishes are honored in our discussions?


If you’re part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and you have questions about how to strengthen your church’s ministry to and with people in the third third of life, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ Regional Catalyzers would love to talk with you about ideas and strategies.

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