Should I move my mother to a nursing home?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 20, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother lives with me, and I do all I can to try and take care of her, but it gets harder all the time. She told me a long time ago never to put her in a nursing home, but now she is suggesting that that is what she wants me to do. I don't want to put her in one and then have her regret it later and blame me for doing it. What should I do?

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.

I remember Ruby.  She lived in a good Catholic nursing home.  Her daughter was distraught. Her mother had left her for the nursing home.  Ruby told me, "My daughter tried so hard.  But I felt guilty every time I wanted something.  I like my services."  

Your mother if afraid that she is making your life too hard. The issure of not wanting to be blamed comes up, painfully, for so many daughters.    

Since it is coming up so strongly for you, why not do some inner work?  A good support group or counsellor might help.   Also, a mind body exercise such as tai chi or yoga or meditation is good.    Perhaps a geriatric care manager or social worker could help facilitate communication between you and your mother.

Here are some suggestions for your contemplation.

  • Visit some homes.   Try to visualize your mother there.   Also imangine yourself there visiting and helping out.  Do you like the feeling of being part of a larger environment of old age and care? 
  • Ask yourself this:    Is moving my mother too extreme?   Would we benefit by having someone come to help for a few hours a day?  Do I need respite care once in awhile so I can get away for a week-end or a week?    Is there family who could help with this?
  • Consider this:  Your mother has released you from your former promise.   Times have changed.  Perhaps the release is an expression of growth. 
  • Remember also:   Care does not rest on location alone.  One large component is attitude.  Loving kindness is a real potential here.