If you have decided it is time to move your parent into a nursing home, you probably already know the emotional turmoil this situation can cause. You probably feel guilty. There is great sadness your loved one’s health has deteriorated to the point that 24/7 care and monitoring is necessary. Your loved one may be none too thrilled with this turn of events, and is not shy about letting you know.
It is a rough time for sure, and there is probably no getting around that. But, there are steps you can take to make the transition a bit easier. Here are just a few that can be particularly powerful.
Dealing with the Guilt
If you are like most people, placing a parent in a nursing facility likely fills you with massive amounts of guilt. It is easy to tell people they should not feel guilty, but let’s face it, you probably will. The best you can do is learn to cope with the guilt, and remember you are doing the right thing.
Many adult children make a promise they will never place their parents in a nursing home, but this promise is often
made when they are healthier and don’t require much care, or any at all. People are living longer, but not necessarily healthier lives, and some people go on to develop a multitude of serious health problems. Their health declines to a point they can no longer care for themselves in any real capacity.
Adult children with jobs, and who may still be raising children of their own, simply do not have the time. Lack of skill and financial constraints can also make it difficult. And, let’s not forget, the toll it will take on your own health.
You honored the spirit of the promise, and you did the best you can.
Don’t Minimize Your Loved One’s Negative Feelings
When people are upset about a change in their life, it is common for those around them to try and minimize this by focusing on all the good things. There are no ill intentions here—we mean well and are just trying to get the person to feel better.
You may find yourself tempted to do this with your parent, not only for her benefit but for yours as well—see the above regarding guilt!
But, while you do want to do what you can to put a more positive spin on the situation, don’t do so at the expense of letting your parent express his feelings. Getting older is not easy, and that sense you can no longer care for yourself, and you will just continue to get sicker and more feeble is a really tough pill to swallow.
Maintain Close Communication with the Staff
As you are preparing to move your loved one into the nursing facility, talking with the staff can help you feel better about the move. Discuss any concerns you have. Let them know your parent’s interests and see what they can do about integrating them into his day-to-day experience. Seek their advice on how to best handle the move as far as how frequently to visit once moved in. They are a