Transitioning A Parent to A Nursing Home
As a caregiver, you may realize at some point that your loved one can no longer receive sufficient care at home. Transitioning a loved one to a nursing home can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally challenging. It may cause your loved one to feel angry or resentful toward you, and you may feel guilty for doing it. Ultimately, though, it is a matter of whether their quality of life is better at home or in a more restrictive setting – if it’s a close call there’s no harm in keeping someone at home or in a less restrictive setting, but not at the expense of someone’s health and welfare.
It may take some time, but your loved one and you will start to feel better about your decision. Knowing what to expect can help you both with the transition in the first month. As you prepare for the move, take time to plan out moving day. Be prepared. Make sure someone is nearby in case you need help. I’m not going to lie – the first day at the nursing home will be hectic and exhausting. Be aware that this can take a physical and emotional toll on both of you. If you were the primary caregiver for your loved one, the first week, or even month, may be tough on you. You may feel like you’re bored, inadequate, and even lonely, depending on your living situation. It will get better. Keep busy with books, movies, and television. Take advantage of your extra time – you deserve it! You need to work as hard as your loved one in restoring balance to your life.
The first weeks will be tough on your loved one, too. It can be confusing, and it’s an entirely new and unfamiliar environment and schedule. Rely on the staff of aides and social workers to help you and your loved one to adjust. Of course, you will want to get acquainted with the staff to ensure your loved one will receive the proper care he or she deserves. If you are finding the transition to be difficult, look for the Family Council, which is a consumer advocate group made up in each building by residents’ friends and relatives. These groups typically focus on goals toward protecting and improving quality of life, both within the facility and within the long term care system as a whole.
Above all, remember to visit often and be there for your loved one. Stay in touch when you can’t be there, and get to know the staff well. You will be the best advocate you can for your family.