|Nobody wants to do it, but sometimes the decision is inevitable. Moving parents into a nursing home or an assisted living facility is a difficult decision to make, so there are several things you want to consider before putting them in a home.
Is it necessary?
Is your parent capable of living on his/her own without more outside help? Before you begin planning the move and researching residences, you should evaluate the situation from as many angles as possible. Discuss the circumstances in detail with friends who have been in similar situations, family members, and your parent. Identify the benefits of making the move to an assisted living or nursing home, and contemplate the potential consequences of not making the move. Consider these questions:
After answering these questions, you'll have a slightly better idea of whether or not putting your parent in a home is the right decision. You must also assess how willing your loved one is to move. Some elderly folks feel comfortable in their own homes and are reluctant to leave, even when a move seems like the best option. You should also consider the unique conditions of your situation and realize that there is no cookie-cutter way to deal with it.
- How much help does he or she need? (Could twenty-four-hour care be necessary? Would a live-in nurse or caregiver suffice?)
- Is there anybody else your parent could move in with?
How do you find the right place?
Once you decide that putting your parent in a home is necessary, you have to find the right place for you and your family. First, you must again evaluate the situation, and as always, keep your unique circumstances in mind while planning.
- Decide which type of home suits your parent's needs. If your loved one is more capable and independent, an assisted living would probably work best. If your parent is bed-ridden or heavily dependent on others for everyday tasks, perhaps a nursing home would be a better fit. Be sure to explore all of your options to find the best possible place for your parent.
- Identify a central location. Find a home that's equidistant from all family members who will be visiting frequently. This will ensure that your parent is seeing familiar faces almost every day, making the adjustment process much easier. Of course, if you plan on visiting almost every day yourself, then a location in close proximity to your home may be more appropriate. Also, consider any special circumstances that may be existent, such as proximity to hospitals, and treatment centers.
- Estimate a price range. Moving your parent into a nursing home or assisted living facility might cost a little bit more than you'd like to spend. Keep in mind, you're paying for whatever level of care your loved one needs; so the more special the case, the higher the price. It is also important to remember that this is an important transition for you, your parent, and your family as a whole. Because your loved one is less dependent than in the past, he or she will need help allocating financial resources to cover the costs of living in this new home, as well as any other living and medical expenses. Once you have an idea of what you can realistically afford, then you can take the next step with your parent's move.
- Anticipate future needs. If your parent's condition changes, you should make sure he or she is living in a home that's equipped to deal with it. When choosing a location, try to find a place that offers different options for increased care, just in case your loved one's circumstances change.
How will life change?
Putting your parent in a home is a big change for everyone -- you, your loved one, and other family members. Life is going to be different, whether you or your parent likes it or not.
- For your parent, the transition will be difficult. Some senior citizens may feel lonely and might even get depressed after awhile. Depending on your parent's attitude, he or she will adjust to this new life in his or her own unique way. If your loved one is outgoing and positive, an assisted living home will keep him or her active with community events, encouraging interaction with other residents and the caregivers. To combat the potential loneliness, try to organize a schedule of visits with other family members and friends. A familiar face never hurts.
- For you, experiencing a wide array of emotions is natural. You may feel a bit relieved that your parent is being taken care of professionally, but you may also feel a little bit of guilt and miss him or her. After your loved one settles into the nursing home or assisted living facility you have mutually chosen, your family will adjust to these new circumstances together.
For further consideration
Think the situation over. Discuss it with family and friends, especially loved ones directly involved with the decision and its ramifications. After considering these important factors, moving your parents into a nursing home or assisted living facility should be much less stressfu