Moving A Loved One Into a Nursing Home
Talk to your parents about it earlier on in life
In most cases, difficult conversations about nursing homes only come up after the elderly parent has had a serious fall, injury or has become increasingly frail and unwell. At this point, they are likely to become insistent that they’re fine, mostly in an attempt not to scare their children. The earlier you can have the conversation about what should happen in the instance of an injury or major downfall in health, the longer time your parents have to come to terms with the idea and the less sting the words ‘assisted care facility’ have when you say them when they are frail.
Let them take the lead
If they are resistant to moving into a nursing home but have come around to the idea of at least ‘considering it’, it’s important to involve them throughout every step of the process, from researching homes to going on home tours and meeting the caregivers on staff. Let them decide if the location suits them, if they like the staff and if they feel comfortable with the atmosphere of the home. Encourage them to ask questions about how many staff will be available, what services are provided and about the set up of the home (shared or private rooms, shared or private bathrooms, pet visitation, daily routines, meals, etc). This can help them feel in control.
Rally the rest of your family
It only takes one disgruntled individual to derail any efforts to get your elderly parent to move into a home. Before you make any big decisions, make sure your brothers, sisters and extended family are on the same page about the new care plans for your parent to ensure there isn’t anyone causing issues that will prolong the entire ordeal and make your parent even more upset about the situation.
Sort out all legal paperwork
Your family may already have Wills and any Power of Attorney paperwork sorted, but if you don’t, now is the time to do it. It’s not fun paperwork, but it will save the entire family a lot of unnecessary grief and fighting later down the track.
Involve your parent in the packing process
No matter how elderly or frail your parent is, if they’ve begrudgingly agreed to move into a home, it’s critical that you involve them in the process of packing up their house. While that might mean you do all of the work while they sit down, and that can be mighty frustrating, in the long term it will help them accept the move more readily and ensure anything and everything that makes them feel comfortable and ‘at home’ travels with them to their nursing home. Sort all other things into inheritance, sell, donations and garbage piles, again, with the assistance of your elderly parent.
Be there for them emotionally
Settling in to any new environment is hard, that’s no secret, so take time to call or visit and listen to their concerns thoughtfully when they express them. Dismissing these issues can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, and you don’t want to exacerbate the situation any further. Work with the care staff to resolve issues and organise days for them to leave the home for family outings where possible. While it may be someone else’s day to day responsibility to look after your elderly parents, they’re still your parents, so ensuring you still make regular visits is key to helping them feel loved.