To tell a parent they need a nursing home, start by expressing your concern for their safety, then inform them of the benefits nursing homes can have. Seniors are often resistant, hurt or angry when you talk about nursing homes, so it’s best to approach the conversation in a gentle and respectful way. Below, find advice for talking about nursing homes and convincing your loved one that long-term care is the right choice.

Talking to Your Parent About Nursing Home Care

To start the conversation, remind your parent that you love them and want them to be safe, happy and comfortable as they age. If they’ve been having regular accidents or problems caused by memory loss, such as forgetting to turn off the stove or lock the door, gently talk about these events and tell your parent that you’re worried about them getting hurt. Mention the benefits of moving to a nursing home, such as 24/7 supervision, quicker access to medical care and opportunities to socialize with new friends. Tell your parent they’ll no longer need to worry about household chores, meal preparation and other tasks they may find difficult.

If you’re not sure how to bring up the topic of nursing homes, consider these conversation starters:

  • “I’m worried that I might not always be around when you need me. I’d feel much better if I knew you had access to care 24/7. What do you think?”
  • “Are you having trouble doing things at home? A senior living community might make life easier for you.”
  • “Are you concerned about paying for long-term care? I’ve found some affordable places that fit your budget. Do you want to look at them together?”

Planning a Move to Nursing Home Care

If your parent seems open to the idea of a nursing home, it may be time to start planning their move to long-term care. Remember to keep them involved throughout the process, so they know their opinions and desires are important to you. Follow the tips below to ensure planning goes smoothly:

  • Take your parent along when touring facilities. Note what they like and don’t like about each place to help them choose the one they’re most comfortable with.
  • Get siblings and other family members involved in planning, if possible.
  • Talk to your parent about which belongings they want to bring to the facility and which they’d prefer to sell or give away.
  • Discuss how you’ll pay for care. If your parent can’t pay out-of-pocket, you may need to help them sign up for Medicaid. Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term stays at nursing homes, although it might cover certain medically necessary services at a facility, such as medication management and wound care.
  • Get your parent on a waiting list for their preferred facility. Many of the best facilities are filled to capacity, so your parent may need to wait a few weeks or longer for an open room. Placing them on the waiting list early in the planning process can help them move in as soon as possible.