How Can I Convince my Brother Not to Leave His Nursing Home?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 31, 2010
Sonya asked...

My disabled brother, who is unable to care for himself ( we tried it), is in a very caring nursing home but he wants to go to his rural falling-down home. What is the best way to discourage him?

Expert Answers

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

Many of our readers are struggling with this same issue -- believing we know what is best for a loved one but being unable to get that loved one to see things the same way. The bottom line is, your brother is an adult and can make his own decisions. But if you have not been able to dissuade him from a decision you think is unwise, there are a number of support systems with which you can help him connect that can make his transition home safer.

Start by referring him to local organizations that work with the disabled, and see if they can refer him to paid attendants who can help look after your brother at home. Some of the newer Personal Emergency Response Systems can also make living at home much safer than before, allowing your brother to press a button that alerts someone when there is an emergency. Plus they are extremely affordable.

The National Association of Home Builders certifies builders (Certified Aging in Place Specialists) to make home modifications for the disabled, some of which might help your brother be better able to care for himself With technology, in-home attendants, and some in-home support as his needs change, he may well be able to maintain himself at home.

One issue that often surfaces when a family member leaves a facility to live back at home is that others (perhaps you) are then called upon regularly for help, and the burden becomes too great an expense of time or responsibility. If this was the case prior to your brother's stay in the nursing home, and you do not want the pattern to repeat, then you need to set -- and stick to -- clear boundaries as to what time and money you are willing to spend on keeping him at home.