The decision to put a parent in a nursing home is never an easy one. No matter how much you know it is the right decision, there may be a heavy sense of guilt. But in this day and age, with people living longer, but not necessarily healthier lives, many children are finding themselves with a parent battling numerous serious health issues simultaneously, and are simply not equipped to provide the level of care necessary. Placement in a full-time care facility is usually the best route in many instances.
If you find yourself at this current crossroads, and are struggling, you are certainly not alone in that. Now that you have gotten past the initial hurdle of choosing a nursing home, you are tasked with getting your parent into it. Here are just a few tips to make the process go more smoothly.
Get Started as Soon as Possible
There may be a lot you need to do to prepare for this transition, and it would behoove you to start the process sooner than later. You are stressed enough already, and you don’t want to compound that by rushing to get things done or feel like you have to make important decisions on the fly due to time constraints. If the house needs to be cleaned out, start doing that now so there is plenty of time to see what you will do with belongings, whether it is sell, donate, or give to family and friends. Don’t delay with any sort of financial matters, whether it is adjusting insurance policies, gathering documentation for funding assistance or anything else in the money department.
Help Your Loved One Adopt a More Positive Perspective but Don’t Shut Down Her Feelings
There is a good chance your parent is not exactly jumping for joy that she is moving into a nursing home. Getting older is no picnic, and failing health and a loss of independence is a lot to take. Even if she knows in her heart it is the best place, and you can’t properly care for her, she may still feel a bit abandoned. It’s just a tough time all around. It is good to try and help her feel better, but be careful not to invalidate her feelings by desperately trying to put a positive spin on everything—there is a good chance that is being done to assuage any guilt you may feel. Let her express herself. Let her grieve for the life and body that is no longer. It’s okay to speak honestly with each other how hard this is on everybody and how it is not ideal.
Work with the Staff
The people who have the best experiences in long-term care facilities tend to have very involved family members. Before the actual move-in, reach out to the staff to see what can be done about making your parent as comfortable as possible, and helping her integrate into the life there from the start. Let them know about any personality ‘quirks’ or concerns and your advice for handling certain problems that may arise. Talk to them about her hobbies and interests, and how that can be worked into her daily routine. See how she can best become part of the community.