How have you handled persuading your loved one to remain in the nursing home when he or she unreasonably thinks he or she is ready to go home?

2 answers | Last updated: Jun 06, 2011
Sonya asked...

How have you handled persuading your loved one to remain in the nursing home when he or she unreasonably thinks he or she is ready to go home?

Expert Answers

Nan Hayes is founder of, the national resource network of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists for seniors, and President of RightSized Living, a senior home transition service in Illinois.

A study published in early 2008 by the University of Southern California suggests that nearly 50% of nursing residents interviewed believe they could leave their care setting for a more independent option. Medical professionals who reviewed their cases did not agree.

Discomfort, loneliness, fear, denial, depression all feed into the resident’s overwhelming desire to leave nursing care and families often find themselves in the position you are now in. While it is difficult to see your loved one so unhappy, you need to carefully consider alternatives. Is 24-hour care absolutely necessary for the resident? What are the costs of 24-hour care at home? Assess whether or not she is truly unhappy or just uncomfortable in a living space she may not yet recognize as home. Help make her surroundings more familiar and personal. Determine if her fears are about death and dying and make sure she has appropriate outlets and resources to discuss these things. Consider if she is trying to draw attention to another issue that may truly be bothering her. Sometimes something as minor as a squabble with a neighbor can make a resident decide its time to leave or perhaps there is a more serious problem with the facility or quality of care that needs to be addressed.

You can learn a great deal by taking the time to listen carefully to her objections, but also encourage her to consider the positives about the place she is living. Talk with the resident staff and find out more about her days and the things she talks about. Of course you can review her situation with administrative staff and medical professionals to determine if options are available. Most of all, treat her concerns with respect, explain the facts and let her know you care. Invite her to discuss solutions where possible, even if the solution is just making her current  situation a little bit better.

Community Answers

Stephenie answered...

I think a person should have the right to be home and being taken care of there. I feel the State should take funding away from Nursing Homes allow Families the finances to take care of a love one. Care in some Nursing home is not adequate, lack of a proper diet, lack of medications needed for patients where less is used or no medications what so ever to keep cost down. When a patient needs medical attention it is not given to keep cost down. What kind of Life Style is this for a love one. The Government needs to step in and make changes to the way money is disbursed to the Nursing Homes and allow people to be in their own enviroment and have the monies available to take care of them. Lot of Seniors worked all their Life and depended on their Social Security to help them through.Stephenie Drew