An Age-Old Debate… Moving A Parent Into A Nursing Home

The effects of old age on our elders is a devastating thing. We all hear so much about conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and we can feel powerless as we see our loved ones deteriorate. It’s at this point that you start to think about what’s the best for their future, and naturally putting them into a care home seems like a sensible option at this moment. So, how do we deal with this upsetting part of our parent’s lives?



Spotting The Signs…

This is the first thing that will alert us that something may be wrong. There are various signs to keep an eye out for, and usually, the first one is problems with the memory. For example, do they know what medication they have taken, or need to take throughout the day? They may be falling over at home more often in spite of additional support, like extra handrails and Zimmer frames. They may start to show an over-reliance on others to get them through the day. And, of course, there may be a major health event, like a stroke or a heart attack, or they may deteriorate after an illness, and the chances of recovery are slim.


Discussing The Issue…

Naturally, there will be a family meeting to discuss the best plan of action. This will be a very tense situation, not just because of the issue itself, but there will be, no doubt, a difference of opinion. We can’t change our family, of course, but each family member may not look at the bigger picture, yet we all have to listen to their opinions. And, as a result, there may be some difficult discussions, but everybody wants the best for their parent in their own way. This is going to be a long debate, and so the best way to discuss it is to come pre-prepared with a list of pros and cons. Ask each family member to state their case, with the pros and cons, and it may be that you will have to take it to a vote, especially if numbers are odd. Once this has been sorted, now comes the really difficult bit…


Confronting Your Parent…

This can be incredibly difficult, and there may be a lot of confrontation to work through. The important thing is not to rush, no doubt they will feel that you are doing the equivalent of locking them up and throwing away the key. But remember there are other options instead of a care home, and depending on the person, they may benefit a bit more from home adaptations, assisted living facilities, or care in the community services. This will be a difficult time for you, but all you can do is reiterate how it would benefit them, and this can mean you will feel very guilty at the outset, but you would naturally come to this conclusion because you have seen no other way for them to get the care that they need.


Working With The Professionals…

This part can be difficult for you also, especially when it comes to picking the right home for your parent. In this respect, you need to trust your gut. You will know straight away if it’s a home that they will like or not, and, unfortunately, nine times out of ten, they are not going to like the home, whatever you do. But think about the atmosphere and whether it will be suitable for them, for example, are the staff very personable? These things will be apparent to you as soon as you set foot in a home, and you will know if it is right for them or not.


Moving Them Into The Home…

The best thing to do is to make it as smooth a transition as possible, and no doubt you will struggle to cope yourself. The best thing you can do is to take as many of their home comforts in as possible. This won’t replace their comfortable home environment, but the transition will be smoother as a result. They will feel very resentful to you in this situation, depending on their faculties, but it is an essential part of the process, and if you can do it with as little pain as possible, this will be helpful to everybody concerned.


Paying Them Visits…

Understandably, they will feel abandoned, so you need to do what you can to keep their morale up as best as possible. And, yes, we all have our own commitments in life, but if you say that you are going to visit them on a specific day, visit them! They don’t want to be forgotten and left in the corner, and neither would you, so keep up your end of the bargain! You need to keep visiting them very regularly in the first couple of months to make sure that they settle in okay, and while nobody wants to think that their loved one is being mistreated, there is an unfortunate amount of cases of neglect in nursing homes, so you need to spot the signs. Something like bed sores in nursing homes is a common sign, especially if you see that as part of a care plan they need to be up and about as much as possible. Other signs include things like bruises, but also it’s important to gauge their emotions at this point, especially in relation to certain members of staff. Don’t ignore these issues, keep a keen eye on everything!


How You Cope?

This can be something that takes a lot of time to come to terms with, and you can feel very guilty. Especially after the first few weeks of them moving into the home, you may feel that you have done the wrong thing, but think about if you would be able to cope if they moved in with you. It’s definitely an option, especially if they are deeply unhappy in the home, but you need to make sure you have the professional support in place. Remember, you will have debated this with your family, and you may have come to this conclusion naturally that this is the best place for them. Accepting the situation is very difficult, and it is a major life event for you as well as your parents. This doesn’t mean that you love them any less, but also you can’t deny that life has not changed. Accepting the situation can take a lot of time, but you need to craft a fine balance, especially in terms of looking after them, as well as looking after your family.

Life does go on, and this can sound harsh, but if you need the support to look after your parents, this is very likely the best approach.


More about Aprill

Aprill Coleman is an award-winning beauty, lifestyle and wellness blogger and freelance writer based in Jackson, Mississippi.

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