According to the Population Reference Bureau, from 2018 – 2060 the number of senior citizens (age 65+) in America will almost double. This massive increase will likely result in strong demand for assisted living and nursing home services nationwide. In light of this, there are several ways that you can prepare your loved one for moving to a nursing home.
If you start discussing living arrangements for your loved one well before the move, you’ll make things a lot easier for everyone involved. Even though circumstances may change (i.e. the person’s health declines unexpectedly), it’s essential to have a plan in place and then modify it if needed. From the loved one’s perspective, starting the process early provides a chance to be actively involved in finding the right nursing home with the ideal amenities. In the end, the loved one’s comfort level is essential to making this inevitably emotional transition as smooth as possible.
Discuss The Benefits
It’s not uncommon for a loved one to struggle with the idea of living in a nursing home, or accepting that they need daily support beyond what their family can provide. Thus it’s important to discuss with your loved one the benefits offered by a nursing home, such as professional/on-premises medical care, safe lifting/transitioning from one place to another, and on-call emergency services. Also, the importance of communal senior living and socialization cannot be overstated. Regularly being around others and benefitting from the associated mental and physical stimulation is invaluable in alleviating loneliness, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Don’t Forget About Your Feelings
When the time comes to consider preparing a loved one for a nursing home, you might get caught up in a whirlwind of thoughts and developments that take you away from your own feelings. And even though you’ve been nothing but selfless throughout your preparations, feelings of guilt and selfishness might manifest. These are natural feelings, but they must be balanced against the question of, “What’s best for my loved one?” Depending on the person’s physical and mental condition, their needs may be well beyond what you’re able to provide – physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
“Caregiver burnout” is a real thing, and it can result in a deterioration of your own personal health. In situations like this, you need to focus on doing what’s best for everyone – because your loved one deserves the best care, and you deserve the peace of mind needed to offer your support in the best possible way.
Understand That Things Change
Seeing a loved one age can be difficult to experience, especially if there are health concerns involved. At a prior time you might have promised your family member that you wouldn’t put them in a nursing home, but if circumstances change and it becomes clear that assisted living is the best option for your loved one, it’s ok to be ok with that. Getting the best care for your loved one is what’s most important – and remember, you’ll still be an indispensable member of his care team, and his chief advocate.
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