Is my parent ready for nursing home care? Many families agonise over moving a loved one into nursing home care.
For some families the decision for nursing home care is out of their hands. A sudden stroke or fracture of the hip can make caring for an elderly loved one at home impossible to manage.
If you are caring for a loved one with a chronic or degenerative disease caregiving could occur over many years. As a loved one’s health deteriorates they may require more care than you can realistically provide.
Everyone’s situation will be unique. Some people have the support of family and friends others have unlimited finances.
The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is usually based on a number of reasons including the following:
• Caregiving is affecting a carer’s own health and family life.
• A family member needs 24 hour care and supervision.
• Problems with incontinence, mobility and personal hygiene.
• Difficulties managing dementia behaviours such as aggression and wandering.
• Problems with medications.
• Concerns about safety due to loss of capacity, judgment and memory loss.
• Family member is malnourished, depressed and socially isolated.
If you are unsure if a family member is ready for nursing home care talk to a doctor or book an aged care assessment with your local aged care assessment team (ACAT).
It is worthwhile exploring all your options before making the move into nursing home care. Knowing you did everything possible before moving a loved one into an aged care home will make you feel more comfortable with your decision.
Discuss with your loved one their expectations and preferences and include them as much as possible in decision making. You could be surprised to find your loved one feels comfortable and safe getting fulltime nursing care, especially if they feel a burden to family.
Friends that have been through similar experiences will be able to give you the support and guidance that you need. Keep in mind that everyone will have their own opinion and some people may make you feel guilty, angry and helpless. These emotions are normal and over time will pass.
Try talking to a counsellor, aged care assessment team or doctor. They can give you an objective opinion about how much care you and other family members can realistically provide.
Remind yourself that you need to take care of your own health in order to provide your loved one with the love and support they need. Knowing a loved one is getting proper care in a nursing home can free you up to concentrate on spending precious quality time with a loved one.