Monday, January 29, 2018

How to Decide if a Nursing Home Is Necessary for Your Elderly Parent

Making the decision to put an aging loved one into a nursing home isn’t easy, and there are plenty of factors to consider before opting in or out. Caring for an elderly parent is difficult, and while many of us are hesitant to introduce the idea of a nursing home, in some situations, it’s truly the best call.

Signs It’s Time to Consider Professional Care

We can’t be with our aging parents 24/7, as much as we might wish that was the case. Look out for signs that it may be time to make the move to a nursing home:
  • Your parent’s age or dementia has progressed to the point of anger or aggressive behavior
  • Your parent has wondered outside the home and gotten lost
  • You’re suffering from caretaker burnout
  • Your own health is suffering
  • Your loved one has needs you simply can’t fulfill on your own
  • Your parent’s doctor has recommended nursing home placement
Consider Your Own Capabilities

With your own career, family, or personal life to think of, it’s easy to burn out trying to handle your own responsibilities while caring for an elderly loved one. Many discover they simply can’t “do it all”, and it’s no surprise; those who choose to become full-time caretakers to their aging family members often give up on their own social and professional commitments. Take your limitations into account, and make a decision that benefits both you and your loved one. 

Tour a Variety of Facilities

If you do decide full-time care at a nursing home is the right move, make sure you give yourself enough time to find the right senior care facility. Seek out referrals from friends or family members, and take tours of all facilities you can. It’s important to ensure you’re placing your loved one in a safe, clean, and welcoming environment—don’t rush this part of the process.

If it’s Not Yet Time for a Nursing Home…

If you’ve considered the benefits and drawbacks of moving your aging parent into a nursing home in full, and decided against it for now, make sure to do the following:
  • Invest in a Medical Alert System
Even if your elderly parent is still fairly independent, it never hurts to have safeguards in place. To ensure your parent gets the assistance they need when they need it, make an investment in a high-quality medical alert system. This technology is designed to call for help in the case of an emergency, and offers many features that will provide both of you with improved peace of mind. As you shop, look for medical alert devices with GPS capabilities, especially if your parent is showing early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Create a Check-in System with Relatives and Friends
You shouldn’t have to shoulder all the responsibility on your own, and providing more social opportunities for your elderly parent can help them feel better longer. Set up a check-in system with family members and close friends; designate Monday as your day to check in, Tuesday as your cousin’s, Wednesday as your spouse’s, and so on. Loved ones are likely available to hang out for an hour or two throughout the week, and this will relieve some of your responsibility—hopefully helping you avoid caretaker fatigue.
  • Consider Transportation Options
If your aging parent is no longer able to drive, you’re not their only option for transportation. Many communities offer free or low-cost senior transportation services; whether they have a doctor’s appointment or need to get their hair cut, shuttle options can ensure they get to where they need to be on time—without you having to rush over from your own job.

Deciding whether or not to move your elderly parent to a nursing home is challenging, but with the right consideration and strategies in place, you can make the decision a whole lot easier.

This is a guest blog entry.

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