where do I begin when the time comes to put a parent in a...

2 answers | Last updated: Dec 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Where do I begin when the time comes to put a parent in a long-term care facility?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

First, discuss with your parent that it is time.  Be very honest and warm. Give the reasons and make it clear that you will not abandon her.

Draw your mother or father into the search.  It may be difficult if you need to get her into a wheelchair or walker; however, the extra effort will pay off in the likelihood of her accepting the new home.

Allow time. You will be entering another country where the national pastime is bathing, dressing, feeding and giving medicine. It takes time to learn how to enjoy yourself in the ordinary environment of an old folks home. Suffering happens, and yet it is possible to appreciate, to relax, and to have a nice time.

When you are ready to start looking, ask friends for suggestions.  Also find out if there are placement and referral agencies in your community.  There are experts within communities who have long experience with elders who might be able to find the best place for your parent. You can also use your Internet search engine and put in "long term care for seniors."  Go first to the facilities closest to where you are.  You will save yourself hours of driving each week if you find a home that is close to yours.

Some institutions have trouble with night time staffing, so it is a good  idea to ask how many staff are on duty at night. Most communities have ombudsmen or other services that will tell you if a facility has problems with too many complaints.

Remember that you are putting yourself, as well as your parent, into long term care.  Find a place where you will feel comfortable coming to be with your parent. Look for long term care where you feel that you are joining a team of professionals. The professionals are providing a background of activities that will support your mother in her daily life. Then you can use those activities as a starting point to uplift your mother’s spirit with love, coordination of visits, letters and all forms of communication.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...
We received valuable help from the social worker at the hospital I don't think we could have done it withour her! They made all the arrangements and gathered all the information -- long term care is very expensive unless you qualify for Medicaid.