Reasons for Putting Elderly Parents in Nursing Homes

Carer Helping Senior Man With Walking Frame
Carer helping senior man with walking frame talking to each other in the park. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

An aging parent’s declining health can be difficult to cope with as the roles of parent and child are suddenly reversed. You want to ensure that your elderly parents will be comfortable and well cared for in the future, but the demands of acting as the primary caregiver may be too overwhelming. The thought of placing a beloved parent in a nursing home likely inspires feelings of guilt, but it can be a beneficial option for providing quality health care and gaining a support team for your family.

Health Care Needs

It is difficult to predict the progression of an elderly parent’s health. Health care needs that initially seem manageable can develop into more serious conditions requiring constant attention, AgingCare.com points out. Without supervision, issues such as dementia, incontinence and restricted mobility can pose major health risks to an elderly person. Making the decision to act as caregiver doesn’t prepare you for the demands of managing medications, keeping track of doctors’ appointments, coping with changes in behavior, and lifting and moving a parent. A nursing home can offer around-the-clock assistance, along with a professional staff with knowledge about a variety of medical conditions.

Financial Costs

The steep cost of in-home care is one reason to opt for a nursing home facility. Financial provisions such as Medicaid and long-term health insurance aren’t always enough to cover the medical expenses, especially if your parent’s condition worsens. In addition to professional caregivers, it is essential for the family to consider factors like home upgrades, mortgages and taxes when calculating the long-term costs of supporting an elderly relative, reports "The New York Times." Finding a quality nursing home or assisted-living facility may be more affordable in the long run.

Personal Obligations

For many individuals, the obligations of work and managing a household significantly limit the amount of time that can be spent caring for an elderly parent. The role of full-time caregiver often causes stress, places strain on family relationships, interrupts your involvement in other activities and alters sleep patterns. The situation is even more draining when you have a tense relationship with your parent or when the person’s condition includes challenging symptoms, such as mood swings. Instead of sacrificing your emotional health, consider finding a nursing home where you can remain actively involved in making decisions about your parent’s future.

Personal Limitations

Caring for another person requires a great deal of time and energy. It can be physically damaging to take on that responsibility if you are simultaneously coping with your own medical complications. A personal injury or illness is often accompanied by ongoing medical expenses or limited income. Handling health care costs for yourself and a parent can quickly become overwhelming and lead to financial strain.

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