If the time comes when an elderly loved one nears the point where living at home becomes an increasingly untenable option, getting your loved ones to realize that a nursing home, or other care facility, is the best option may be a difficult conversation to have. There are ways to make this conversation as painless as possible.
First, it is important to realize that this need not be a giant, one-time confrontation, but instead a conversation over time. The first time you bring up a care facility you might discuss the care facility as a just a future option to think about rather than as something that could happen next week. Even if your loved one rejects the possibility of placement in a care home in these early conversations, that is still fine. You do not need to win the argument overnight. Just getting everyone involved to think about the possibility is progress.
Second, if you have others with you helping your loved one to make this decision, support each other through the process. Discuss objections your loved one might have with each other and practice answers in order to make your upcoming conversations with your loved one easier. Reinforce each other with the idea that you are doing the right thing. Care facilities have trained staffs and resources to properly care for elderly residents. Placing a loved one in a care facility is not a betrayal.
Third, try to frame a care facility in positive terms. Bring up the community aspects of care facilities. Get your loved ones to think about easy access to activities catered toward older adults, the ability to make new friends, and the ease of mind of not having to worry about managing day-to-day household chores. Do not focus on what your loved one cannot do at home, but instead point out what the staff at a care facility could help your loved ones with in order to make your loved one’s life easier.
While everyone is different and may respond in different ways, these tips should help provide a blueprint of how to start the conversation about placing a loved one in a care facility.