Making the decision that it’s time for your parent to go into a nursing home is, probably, one of the hardest decisions you’ll make for them.
Once the decision is made, you will start researching the best places for your parent to be – maybe they have a special health condition that requires a specific kind of care, or maybe they have other unique needs that certain nursing homes won’t be able to help with.
No matter what, you want the best care for your parent. Once you’ve found the right place for your parent to move into, it can give you much more comfortable knowing they will be well cared for and safe there.
However, your comfort and understanding don’t necessarily mean that your parent will want to stay there or even be comfortable with the idea.
Everyone wants to keep their independence for as long as possible, and moving into a nursing home can signify that part of your independence is gone and you can’t take care of yourself anymore.
Your parent may know that the time is coming, or they might not know that you’re researching nursing homes. Either way, you will need to have a conversation with them when it comes time to move them into the nursing home.
When you need to have that conversation with your parent about staying in a nursing home, here are a few things to consider to hopefully make it easier and more comfortable for everyone.
You’re Making the Right Decision
Putting your loved ones in a nursing home may seem like you’re abandoning them, but this really isn’t the case. Doing this for your parents is one of the most loving things you can do for them.
You are moving them to a place where they will receive the right medical care for any conditions they may have. On top of that, they will be around others so they will be able to socialize and participate in activities that are going on in the home.
Giving Yourself Some Time Back
When you’re caring for your parent, on top of all the other obligations you have in your life, can be mentally and physically exhausting for you.
You have work, your own family, and other things going on in your life, so when you’re a full-time caregiver for your parent it can really take its toll on you moving them into a nursing home.
Now that you’re comfortable you’re making the right choice, you’ll probably need to find the right way and time to tell your parent it’s happening. You might encounter some obstacles along the road but with the help of the nursing home, this can be a fairly easy transition for everyone.
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If Your Parent Refuses To Go
You don’t want to force your parent to go, especially if they’re aware of what’s happening and don’t agree that it is time they need help with care. If they are completely refusing to go, you may need to take a different approach.
Have a Conversation
Instead of just telling your parent that they are moving into a nursing home, have a talk with them. Sit them down and talk to them about why this is a good thing for them and it’s time.
If you explain that you’re not doing this for you, you’re doing it for their own health and well-being then your parent maybe a little more receptive to moving.
Enlist Other Family Members
If you have been the only sibling providing care for quite some time then you might feel like you’re alone in making this decision, but you don’t have to be.
If your mom or dad is having difficultly with the decision to move into a nursing home, ask your siblings, your other parent or close family to sit down with you and have an honest conversation with them about why this is the right choice.
Have Their Medical Team Talk To Them
Sometimes your parent won’t listen to you and your family because well, you’re family. This could be the time to chat with their medical team, or the medical team at the nursing home so that they can discuss it with your parent and perhaps offer a different perspective.
It can also come across differently when a medical professional is discussing the option with them.
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Seeing the Facility
Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities will offer you the opportunity to come to the building and take a look around. One of the major factors in your parent going into a nursing home is that it’s unfamiliar and they have no idea where they’re going. This is a really scary idea for them, as it would be for anyone.
If you can, take them to the home before they’re actually moving in to see where they will be staying. They might not be able to see their exact room, but they can walk around and get a feel for the facilities. They can also take the time to see the dining areas, where they host social activities, and the other amenities this nursing home offers.
Now seeing the facility is dependent on your parent being mobile enough to visit and that they’re able to understand what is going on. If your parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s then you might be touring the facility on your own (or with other family members) to make sure it’s suitable for their needs.
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Assuming the steps to move your loved one into a nursing home have gone well and you’ve selected a place to move, the day will come when it’s time to move them into the nursing home.
They might be moving from their home, or they could be moving from a hospital after an extended stay due to surgery or procedure. The day will be one filled with emotions, on all sides, so if you’re not sure how to feel it’s totally natural.
As scared as you’re probably feeling, your parent is likely much more scared: this is all new for them and they’re moving into a place where they don’t know anyone.
Your parent might try a couple of different ways to get out of there, especially if they have dementia and it’s especially confusing for them. When they’re bargaining or obviously emotionally upset, it’s going to upset you and make you question if you’ve made the right decision.
Use the Nursing Home Staff
The nursing home staff at the facility your parent is moving into have probably seen this before – they know how hard this day is for everyone involved. They have experience in helping make your mom or dad more comfortable.
When you arrive at the facility on that day, allow the staff to be more involved than you are so that there can be some detachment. If you’re completely involved in everything your parent might have difficulty when it comes time to say goodbye.
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Allow Time, but Don’t Over Stay
If you keep extending and putting off the inevitable – when you need to say goodbye and go home – it’s going to make it worse. This isn’t to say you should just drop them off and go, but don’t keep hanging around.
Take the time to get them settled in, fill in the appropriate paperwork for them and make sure you have all the information you need to know about the facility.
Once they are all settled and comfortable, there might be some kind of activity currently going on that they would enjoy being involved in. This might be the time to leave them to adjust and go home.
Visiting Your Parent
Of course, you want to visit your family member – you aren’t just going to put them into the nursing home and then never see them again. What is the right amount of time to wait to visit and how often should you visit?
Give your parent a little bit of time to adjust to living there, and getting to know the people there. If you come to visit too soon your parent may feel like they aren’t really staying there and it’s just a mini-vacation – especially if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Some nursing homes will give the family updates in the first few days and weeks just so they can relax, knowing their loved one is cared for. Additionally, the nursing home will have your contact information handy to get in touch with you if they need to.
After an adjustment period, visit your parent as much as your schedule allows. They know you have other obligations in your life and things you need to do. If you can, make sure you visit on important holidays and dates for them.
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To Sum Up
When your parent moves into a nursing home, it can be emotional for them and for you. It’s a big change, and sometimes one they don’t want to make. Take your time and make sure you find a nursing home that is the right fit for them, and once they can feel (the most) comfortable in.
In time, your mom or dad will adjust to living in a nursing home and may even find they make friends there. With time, you will be able to see it was the right decision even if it doesn’t appear that way right now.