Deciding on placing your elderly parent in a nursing home can be a difficult and emotional choice.
While you want to ensure that your aging parent is comfortable and cared for in the future, the demand of acting as a primary caregiver can be too overwhelming. In addition, the idea of placing a beloved parent in a nursing home is likely to trigger the feeling of guilt.
However, placing your loved one in a nursing home can be a beneficial option for providing quality health care and acquiring support for your family. Here are some reasons for putting elderly parents in nursing homes.
Reasons for Putting Elderly Parents in Nursing Homes
1. Health Care Needs
It can be difficult to predict an elderly parent’s health progression. Health care needs that initially seemed manageable may develop into more severe conditions requiring round-the-clock attention. Without supervision, problems such as dementia, restricted mobility, and incontinence may pose serious health risks to an older adult.
A caregiver at home may not be able to meet the demands of an elderly parent, such as keeping track of doctor’s appointments, managing medications, or coping with behavioral changes. But a nursing home will offer constant help and a professional doctor knowledgeable about various medical conditions
2. High Cost of In-home Care
The high cost of in-home care is another reason you can choose to take your parent to a nursing home. Financial plans, including long-term health insurance or Medicaid, are not always enough to cover medical expenses, especially when the loved one’s condition worsens.
Besides professional caregivers, your family needs to consider other factors such as mortgages, taxes, and home upgrades when calculating the long-term expenses of supporting your elderly parent. Finding a good nursing home can be more affordable in the long run.
3. More Independence for the Elderly
So often, a family caregiver gets involved in every part of their loved one’s life and care. Even if you share the best relationship, too much time together and interaction with one another can be incredibly tiring. Furthermore, it leaves very little time for your elderly parent to have time for themselves.
Although the adjustment can be difficult, you will realize that your parent has more independence in a nursing home than they would be living in their own house. Nursing homes care units are designed to meet the evolving needs of older adults and allow them to move around more freely than they would at home.
Nursing home occupants also have state and federal rights referred to as Resident’s Rights. These rights give occupants the privilege to decide their schedule, which means they can choose when to eat, sleep or wake up. This type of independence is usually not there when living or working with a family caregiver.
4. Active Social Life
Most nursing homes have an activity department that plans, implements, and evaluates facility occupants’ activities. The department designs programs that help in encouraging socialization, offering relaxation and entertainment, and enhancing daily living skills.
The department will also give you and your elderly parent a monthly calendar, so you can choose the activities you would like your aging parent to do. They will even assess your loved one’s hobbies to ensure they don’t miss out on the activities they love.
You may join in on the fun, too. Whether it’s workout, trivia, or cooking, your loved one will be happy to come out and join when they know you want to be involved, too.
Research shows that social isolation is a contributing risk factor for dementia. Most professionals believe that nursing homes are the perfect way to prevent social isolation in older adults.
FAQs on Reasons for Putting Elderly Parents in Nursing Homes
Is It Wrong to Put My Elderly Loved One in a Nursing Home?
If it is in their best interest and yours, there is nothing wrong or bad with putting a parent in a nursing home. Getting the help of a reliable facility while watching on things and caring for your elderly parent in this new role allows you to take off your martyr hat and help you relax.
What Qualifies an Elderly for a Nursing Home?
Generally, nursing home services are intended for older adults with weakening health issues or serious conditions that require frequent medical attention and constant care. To be admitted to a nursing home, a senior must meet the federal or state’s criteria for nursing home care. Furthermore, their medical conditions must be documented and affirmed by a physician.
Can I Force My Aging Parent into a Nursing Home?
You can legally force your elderly parent to a nursing home. However, to do that, you must get guardianship for your parent.
Guardianship of an older adult is a legal relationship established by the court. It offers an individual the right to care for a senior who cannot care for themselves. The guardian is responsible for the safety and welfare of the aging parent.
But keep in mind that this is not easy, nor is it cheap. You will require the help of an elder law attorney, and it might take some time to get it done.
Can a Physician Put an Elderly in a Nursing Home?
A doctor can only force an elderly to be admitted to a nursing home if the person has been legally considered incapacitated. To be incapacitated means to lack physical or mental capability to sufficiently care for a person or property, whether temporarily or permanently.
If you have an aging parent, it is a good idea to go through the legal checklist before any physical or mental decline occurs. Although it might not ever happen, you will be prepared as a family unit if it does.
Here are some legal documents needed to care for elderly parents:
1. HIPAA release from all physicians
2. Birth certificates
3. Financial account(s) details
4. Retirement accounts
5. Divorce decrees
6. Veteran’s discharge papers
7. Spouse’s death certificate, if applicable
Most families take their aging parents to nursing homes due to physical decline or severe cognitive that makes them require round-the-clock care. Admitting your elderly parent to a nursing home makes sense when private in-home care is unaffordable or if family members and friends are not able to care for them.
However, the decision to choose a nursing home placement is determined by the level of care your aging parent may require and the amount of caregiving you and your family can be able to offer. Take your time to make your big decision, and hopefully, your elderly parent will be able to cooperate during this process.