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