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What if My Parent Doesn’t Want to Go to a Nursing Home?

Many of us imagine spending our final years in our own homes, but the odds are against us. Few of us will end our lives in the homes where we’ve spent most of our time. But what happens if your parent doesn’t want to go to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility? What if they want to remain at home, despite their increasing care needs and decreasing mental acuity? 

It’s a difficult decision to determine when and how to move a loved one from a familiar home, but it’s important to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is my parent really getting the best care at home? As we age, our physical and mental abilities naturally decline. Most of us require more dedicated help to complete tasks we used to take for granted, like remembering to take our medications or dressing and showering. 
  • Did my parent anticipate their current health needs? When we plan for the future, it’s nearly impossible to anticipate every eventuality. While your parent may have imagined an extended, healthy retirement, poor health and chronic conditions can affect even the most cherished plans. 
  • Is caring for my parent affecting the physical, mental health, and wellbeing of myself, their spouse, or another family caregiver? Full-time or even part-time caregiving for a loved one is a physically and mentally demanding task. Putting all of this responsibility on a single person - who may also be the primary caregiver for their own children, while supporting a spouse and managing a home - is an unreasonable expectation. Eventually, caregiving tasks may negatively impact the caregiver’s health.

Much resistance to nursing homes comes from those who came of age before the advent of affordable senior living options. These individuals still have negative associations with the term.  Yet, if they were to virtually tour one of these centers now, they would see that living in today’s senior care centers can often be like living on a resort campus. 

For instance, at the Dammert Care Center, our residents receive unique, personalized care according to their needs. Expert staff are on call 24/7. Each member of our team works closely with residents and their families to provide resident-driven programming that supports their physical and mental well-being and sense of purpose. We also offer continuing education, delicious meals, and dietary consulting, all nestled on over 200 acres of pristine natural beauty. 

Ask yourself how your parent is currently living? Do they participate in social activities? Is someone available to assist them 24/7? If they require specialized treatment, are they reliant on a specialist coming to the home every day? What happens during inclement weather? 

Overcoming Objections to a Nursing Home

One way to overcome a loved one’s objections is to invite them to virtually explore their living options online. Seeing actual photos of where and how they would live may alleviate their fears. While many care communities may have limited options for in-person tours right now, once those become available again, bring your loved one with you to explore the community and meet the people who will care for them. Also, be sure to read online reviews and reach out to friends and family for recommendations

If your parent is still resistant, try approaching a “neutral” third party like a doctor or close friend. Invite them to sit down with you and your parent to discuss available options. Be clear with your parent about what the future may bring as their care needs change. 

Dementia and Nursing Home Care

A loved one struggling with confusion or dementia may be more difficult and complicated to care for, but there are strategies that you can use. Ask your parent to “try out” the move for a week or a month. Ensure your loved one that this move is temporary, just a trial run. The reality of actually living in a skilled nursing home where your parent now has constant attention, in lovely surroundings, with caring staff, will be more persuasive than any verbal argument. 

In extreme cases, if your parent is a danger to themselves or others, you may want to explore the possibility of gaining a power of attorney through the legal system. Power of attorney gives one the ability to make decisions on behalf of an impaired loved one and should only be used as a last resort. 

Explore Nursing Home Care Near You

Whatever your parent’s needs, you do not have to make this decision alone. Our experts here at The Esquiline would be happy to discuss your concerns and your parent’s care needs. To learn more, visit our skilled nursing care resource center.