Keeping their best interests in mind and at heart: Deciding to place Mom or Dad in full-time care

Watching a parent deal with declining physical health — and sometimes mental health, as well — can be difficult. While it can be very rewarding to step in and help a loved one maintain some personal independence, there may come a time when you are no longer able to provide the level of care that is required.

It can be difficult to accept that a parent or loved one may need full-time care. But it’s important to remember that, in most cases, they may be safer and healthier in a nursing home facility than at home. In a nursing facility, they will have immediate access to ongoing or urgent medical care. They will have professional care and assistance in moving from place to place. Residents also benefit from access to hot meals and a healthy diet, both crucial to maintaining long-term health.

Of course, these facts address the logical decision of moving a loved one to a nursing home but not the emotional impact that can go along with such an important decision. While it’s perfectly normal to experience some guilt about your decision, you should keep in mind what’s best for their long-term health, and remind yourself that you’re making decisions in their best interest.

  • Your loved one’s illnesses or age-related decline is not your fault. Whether they are facing age-related issues or a progressive illness like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, your loved one would still be dealing with declining health with you as their sole caregiver.
  • Professional care is frequently a necessary next step. Transitioning to a nursing home will mean increased safety and comfort for your aging or ill loved one. And because these long-term care facilities conduct thorough needs assessments before admitting potential residents, you can rest assured that if your parent is admitted, it’s because they require skilled nursing care and consistent supervision. Of course, there are options other than a nursing home — including around-the-clock in-home health care — but these can be cost-prohibitive. Keep in mind, too, that you would likely need at least some professional help to avoid caregiver burnout and to make sure you have a life and relationships outside of caregiving.
  • Give yourself a break. As a primary caregiver, you’ll be making decisions about situations that you’ve likely never encountered before and handling matters that have no right or wrong answers. It’s also likely that there is no solution that makes everyone happy or solves every problem. Do your best to handle what is within your abilities, and then let the rest go.
  • Let the facility do its job. Once you’ve made the difficult decision to help your loved one move to a nursing home, the bulk of their care becomes the nursing home’s responsibility. Visit often, advocate for them, and do small things to brighten their day and make their life easier. But move forward with your own life. Let the healthcare professionals provide the necessary care, while you take care of yourself. By putting your own personal well-being at the top of your list of priorities, you can ensure that you have the energy and the perspective to manage your relationships, including with your parent.

If your parent or loved one has reached a point where living alone is no longer possible, it’s time to evaluate and select a facility that can help. American Health Corporation is dedicated to providing quality health care, rehabilitation, and support services to residents and their families. We understand that each resident is a unique individual with family and friends, and our goal is to coordinate these ties as part of an individualized care plan to achieve patient goals.

Contact the nursing home in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:

Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383

Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054

Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696