We all get older, and as we do, our bodies don’t function as well as they once did. This is an inevitable decline. We can fight it by eating well, exercising, and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption.

Still, all humans must accept that we need help in our daily lives at a certain point. You rarely have a ninety-year-old who can live on their own with no assistance from anyone.

If you have an older relative, like a parent or grandparent, who isn’t as capable as they once were, you might consider putting them in a nursing home. They may not want to go, though.

Here are some factors worth considering if you’re facing this dilemma.

Can You Visit Them More Often Instead?

The ideal nursing home is one where the employees treat the residents well. They attend to them, give them their medications, feed them, make sure they exercise and socialize, etc. However, elder abuse at these facilities happens sometimes.

There are many possible signs of physical abuse at nursing homes, and you might drive yourself crazy looking for them during every visit if you decide to put your relative in one. If you don’t put them in a nursing home, you never have to worry about that.

Instead, maybe you can visit them a few times each week. This will only work:

  • If you live somewhere close by
  • If you have the time to do it

No doubt you love your older relative, but this will only work if you in the same region as them. If you happen to live hundreds of miles away, this plan doesn’t make much sense. It’s only a viable option if you live fairly close by, and you can clear your schedule to do it.

Can You Get a Parttime Home Health Aide?

If your older relative is still somewhat mobile and lucid, you might also hire a home health aide who can stop by and visit them a couple of times each week. Maybe they can even come every day for a couple of hours. Home health aides can:

  • Help your relative bathe, dress, and undress
  • Help your relative cook and clean
  • Talk to your relative, so they don’t get lonely

You might feel like this is a suitable option if you don’t live in the same city that your relative does. The home health aide can call you if there’s ever a more serious problem and they need to consult with you.

A Neighbor Might Help

Your older relative might also have a neighbor living nearby who can help them with some household chores. They may do some of the same things a home health aide would do. If they’re willing, they might also mow the lawn, rake the leaves, shovel the driveway during the winter, etc.

This will only work if your older relative can still take care of themselves at least somewhat. They need lucidity and some mobility to continue living on their own.

They also need to get along well with the neighbor in question, and vice versa. If your relative and their neighbors can’t stand each other, this arrangement will never work.

You Might Get a Live-In Nurse

Getting a live-in nurse is kind of like a home health aide, but it’s a step beyond that. A live-in nurse stays there in the house or apartment with your older relative almost all the time.

They can help them with bathing, dressing, undressing, cooking, cleaning, and administering medication.

You might look into this option if your older relative is feeble, or they have reduced mental capacity. You could go this route if your relative is dealing with Alzheimer’s or another dementia type.

You have to pay a live-in nurse, so maybe you can use your older relative’s savings for that if they agree to it. If they can’t make that decision anymore, you might get power of attorney and take over their finances.

Can They Come Live with You?

One more option might be for your older relative to come live with your family. That might inconvenience you somewhat, but at least you know they’ll be safe.

Some nursing homes are great, and you don’t have to worry about elder abuse. Still, you can easily see why some older adults don’t want to live in such places. You’ll have to talk with the rest of the family and figure out the best move for everyone involved.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "5 Factors When Deciding Whether to Put Your Older Relative in a Nursing Home," in Medicalopedia, October 8, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9296/5-factors-when-deciding-whether-to-put-your-older-relative-in-a-nursing-home/].