Elderly-when nursing home is needed

A daughter with his father at a nursing home facility

Today millions of elderly do live in nursing homes around the world.

In most cases, however, it is not a matter of the “callous warehousing of the elderly,” as some have called the putting of them in nursing homes. 

Rather, it is often the only alternative to adequate care for those unable to care for themselves."

Nursing home for elderly-When?

All too often, children of the elderly are not in a position to care for their aged parents, many of whom may be severely afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or bedridden with some other debilitating malady that requires special round-the-clock care.

In such cases nursing homes may be the only places capable of meeting these special needs.

For example, one man tells why his mother had to put her mother in a nursing home:

Recently my mother put her mother, in a nursing home. It was a very difficult decision for her. She had cared for her for four years, but now she needed full-time nursing care. Mother’s friends, family, and various social workers and doctors all supported the decision to put her in the nursing home, but still it was a very difficult decision to make. My mother felt that since her mother had cared for her as a child, now it was only right for her to care for her mother in her old age—the repayment. As it was, however, She was better cared for in the nursing home than she could have been at my mother’s home.”

Another tells of his father’s bout with cancer:

 for last two years, he was in and out of a hospital, and the last five months, he spent in an extended-care facility where he could get the specialized care he required. The decision to move him from home to the facility was a family one, with him participating. He decided that his care was becoming too arduous, even impossible, for the family in the home. ‘It’s going to kill all of you!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s time to go to this extended-care facility. Better for you; better for me.' So he went. For most of nine years, the family had cared for him, and only as a last resort did he go into the extended-care facility for the specialized, round-the-clock care that was required.”

So, when, as a last resort, a nursing home becomes needed for adequate care, the family should seek out one that is clean and staffed by kindly and competent caregivers.

If it is at all possible, arrange for a visitor every day—a family member, someone from the neighborhood, at least a phone call—so that the elderly person does not feel abandoned, forgotten, totally alone, and thinking that no one cares.

When others in the nursing home are having visitors, but no one comes to see your loved one—this can be very disheartening.

So try to see the person regularly. Visit with him. Listen to him. Talk with him. The latter is very important.

Even if he seems to be in a coma, talk anyway. You never know to what degree he may be hearing something!

However, when making decisions regarding parents, try to do so with them instead of for them. Let them feel they are still in control of their lives.

Therefore, offer the needed assistance with all the love and patience and understanding possible.