Many people are currently residing in nursing homes. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.3 million residents are living in nursing care facilities.
Transferring your elderly parents or “senior citizens” into a local nursing home is one the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make in your life. After all, this particular situation often comes with conflicted emotions, such as regret, guilt and a sense of relief.
If you need help making this hard choice in life, you’re in the right place. Before we get to signs when you should consider a nursing home for your family members, let’s look at why adult children put their elderly parents in this type of care facility.
Why People Put Parents in Nursing Homes
You’re not alone in making the tough decision to move your old parents to a nursing home. Adult children transfer their elderly family members to this facility for one or more of the following reasons:
Professional Care is Necessary
Many decide to move their parents to nursing homes when they see that professional care is required to allow them to live a comfortable life. After all, these facilities offer expert care 24/7. What’s more, nursing homes offer an established community that hosts activities meant to engage residents.
The Adult Children Don’t Live Nearby
Although the children are willing to stay at home and assist their aging parents with daily living, this isn’t feasible for extended periods. Jobs and other obligations will get in the way, and these children can’t exactly put their careers on hold indefinitely or quit their job.
A nursing home, therefore, might be a good option in this scenario. This care facility can make sure that elderly people get the care they need whenever they need it. The children can then return to their regular career, life and home.
Taking Care of Elderly Parents is Draining
Adult children who are taking care of their parents on their own will likely come out feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. After all, overseeing the care of someone they love is both demanding and grueling.
When to Transfer an Elderly Parent in a Nursing Home
Knowing when to put mom and dad in a nursing home isn’t always straightforward. This is because many elderly individuals have chronic health problems that affect their functional abilities more slowly over time. This makes recognizing the point when long-term care in a residential facility more difficult to do.
Given this, you need to look at various behavioral, mental and physical signs. Consider nursing home care or assisted living for your elderly parent if you spot any combination of the following red flags:
- Your mom or dad has fallen multiple times, resulting in physical injuries, such as broken bones and bruises.
- Your friends and colleagues at work are genuinely concerned about your well-being, and they highly encourage you to look at other viable long-term care options.
- Your parent frequently has to undergo hospitalization or visit the emergency room due to unstable health.
- The thought of caregiving exhausts you, which prevents you from focusing on your other responsibilities.
- Your parent’s ability to do basic day-to-day activities is dropping due to physical or mild cognitive impairment.
- You lose patience more quickly and often feel frustrated or irritated, even at minor details.
- Your mom or dad is becoming less interested in doing fun activities or more socially withdrawn.
- You’re beginning to skip vital caregiving tasks, as they’ve become too demanding.
- You sustained an injury while taking care of your mom or dad.
- The time you’re spending as a caregiver for your parent is straining other important relationships.
What Are the Alternatives to Nursing Homes?
A local or luxury nursing home isn’t the only option for seniors who require extra support. Here are alternatives that you could consider for your elderly parents:
Assisted Home Care
Note: this is for elderly individuals who need attention instead of constant medical care.
Groups, such as Meals on Wheels, offer meals to seniors who are unable to cook for themselves. The volunteers who make this service possible are elderly citizens themselves. Likewise, there are home care services that offer doctors and nurses who make regular house calls.
Elderly individuals may opt for hospice care if they are in the final weeks or days of their life. This nursing home alternative is for seniors with a terminal illness, such as cancer. Hospice care supports those who need comfort instead of treating their condition.
Common services provided in this form of elderly care include spiritual and emotional counseling for you and your parent, medications that alleviate pain, occupational, speech or physical therapies, provision of medical equipment and medical care.
Adult Day Care
A lot of people associate the words “day care” with toddlers or young children. Take note that adult day care exists and it’s for elderly individuals who want to continue to live with their families. This alternative offers a hospitable place for seniors during the weekdays.
The services in an adult day care facility differ from one center to another. Some facilities provide recreational activities and planned events. A few examples of social activities include weekly or monthly birthday celebrations, local outings, community bingo, arts and crafts projects and musical entertainment.
Other adult day care facilities organize activities around the wellness and health of the elderly. Speech, physical and occupational therapies are commonplace in these centers. Some facilities even offer health services for seniors who live with a disability or suffer from dementia.
Holistic Care Program
Medicare provides PACE, also known as Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. This alternative helps seniors obtain medical care while they reside in communities instead of in nursing homes. If your mom or dad is over 55 years of age, has access to Medicaid or Medicare and lives in a PACE area, they may be eligible for PACE.
Individuals who meet the criteria can then get health care from organizations and professionals affiliated with PACE. The great thing about this particular program is that it caters to small groups of people, which translates to greater personal attention.
Moving your elderly parents to nursing homes is something that you should consider carefully. When making this decision, you need to consider a range of factors, such as cost, the wishes of your parents and the impact of your parents on your life and your own family.