As your parents grow older, the time may come when one of them needs more care than you can provide. In this case, you may be faced with the difficult decision to place one parent in a nursing home. This can be heartbreaking for both you and your parents, but if it’s necessary, then you may be able to make the process at least a little smoother by trying the following ideas brought to you by Memory Lane Therapy.
Finding the Right Nursing Home
If one of your parents is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, experiencing limited mobility, or is simply deteriorating in health to the point that they need more care, your first step is to find the right nursing home. Begin by researching various nursing homes near your parents’ current home. Explore care levels, amenities, room types, and prices. Read reviews left by family members of current and past residents.
When you have narrowed your search down to two or three possibilities, visit each nursing home for a tour. Margolis Bloom & D’Agostino suggests making a list of questions ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to ask them. Bring your parents with you if possible so they can get a feel for each place and determine what might work best for both of them.
Making Legal Preparations
If your parents have not already done so, this period of transition should be used as an opportunity to make sure their legal affairs are in order. Wills and durable powers of attorney should be drawn up as well as estate plans.
Keep in mind that some of these conversations and decisions can be stressful. When making decisions under stressful circumstances, there are some important things to keep in mind. The first is to slow down and breathe in order to give yourself time to process. It’s also helpful to keep priorities in mind. The brain can get caught up in the minutia, so try to focus on the big picture.
Paying for Care
Aged Care Guide points out that one of your major concerns will certainly be paying for your parent’s nursing home care. You’ll need to explore many different options here. Calculate the value of your parents’ current assets, including savings, real estate, stocks, and bonds. Also, research the details about the percentage a nursing home can claim if only one spouse needs care.
If you think you may need to sell your parents’ home to pay for care, you should have the house appraised. Then you will need to determine the home’s equity, which is the current market value of the home minus the amount still owed on the mortgage. This will help you estimate how much you might be able to put toward care.
Downsizing With Your Other Parent
Even if you don’t have to sell your parents’ home to pay for care, you may still want to encourage your other parent to downsize. You could point out that your parent would have less maintenance and housework and therefore more time to spend with his or her spouse. Consider helping your parent rent an apartment or move into a senior living community, perhaps even one in conjunction with the nursing home. You’ll have to help your parents go through their possessions and determine what to keep and what to pass on.
The entire process of moving one parent into a nursing home is bound to be hard on everyone concerned, and it may be especially frustrating for you. Be sure to remain as compassionate and patient as possible, understanding that this transition is stressful, sad, and overwhelming.
Striking the Right Balance
As you transition one parent into nursing home care, you’ll need to strike the right balance of location, care, and expense. Don’t hesitate to get some legal advice along the way, and take heart, knowing that you have your parent’s best interests in mind.