Should I put my parent in a nursing home?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Where do I start? Who do I call to get help? Should I put her in a nursing home? My Mom has been living with me for 8+ years and its getting to be too much for me. I don't have a life anymore.

Expert Answer

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.

If the care of an elder is left to one person, it can easily become overwhelming. The good news is, there are abundant resources to help.

A good care manager can help you address your feeling that you don't have a life anymore, and also sort through the resources so you can get your life back.

Perhaps you need to hire a person for respite help to come to your home several days a week. Perhaps you need to join a support group.

Finally, find five nursing homes, assisted living facilities or adult foster homes within driving distance of your home. Find out what kind of care your mother would qualify for, and make appointments to visit.

When you visit a place, can you visualize your mother there? Can you see yourself as well?

If you were visiting her there, where would you sit? Who would you talk with? Give yourself plenty of time to walk the halls. It takes a while to be able to "feel" a facility from the inside out.

As you consider this difficult decision, try not to think of it in terms of "putting" your mother somewhere. Think instead that you and your mother need to expand your relationships and options for the purpose of more care for you both.