The realization you have been dreading is staring you in the face – you can no longer safely care for your parent. Now what?
This is a tortuous reality that millions of adult children agonize over their elderly and sick parents.
Have you exhausted the options of adult day care, assisted living with extra assistance, and/or in-home care?
Is the only alternative to put your parent into a nursing home?
When my mother was relatively well, she begged me never to put her in a nursing home. It still haunts me that I did it anyway when I had no other option. Ten years later the guilt still chokes me. The experience was not a good one as her adult children were long distance and in different time zones. We were mostly ignored by the nursing home staff except in the middle of the night when they would call frequently to say she fell out of bed.
In retrospect the first thing to do is plan for the worst – the worst being a nursing home. Don't wait until you have to make that decision but plan for it and hope you never need to use it. Be armed with a list of nursing homes, ask family/friends for recommendations and nursing homes to avoid, visit some nursing homes in advance so your decision is not out of desperation, find out the staffing ratio per patient, read books and articles about putting parents in a nursing home, join a support group or look for eldercare community services that offer information. Get your siblings involved.
As the population ages, more nursing homes services will be required. Will nursing homes be able to meet the demands for better care? Can you wait that long?