Coates & Davenport, P.C.

How to know if it's time to move into a nursing home

You want to move your parent into a nursing home, but he or she remains very resistant to the idea. Whenever you bring it up, it gets shot down quickly.

You start to question yourself. Is it really time for a nursing home? Or is your parent right that living independently is fine? Or, on the other hand, does your parent value that independence so much that he or she is making an unwise decision and staying in a dangerous living situation?

You don't want to be overly pushy and move your parent out of the family home too soon, but you also don't want to wait too long and risk injury. How do you know if it's time?

Memory lapses become common

We have all walked into a room and forgotten why we're there, but serious memory issues can become very dangerous. One common sign is leaving things in places that do not makes sense: a pair of glasses found in the fridge, for instance, or a bottle of medicine pills tucked under a pillow.

Memory issues with medicine can be especially dangerous. Many people need to take certain medications every single day, sometimes in multiple doses. If your parent forgets to take the medication, will other issues get worse? If he or she takes the medicine, forgets about it, and takes it again, is there a risk of a serious overdose?

Difficulty getting around

Physical issues can also make it impractical to live at home. Perhaps the bedrooms are all on the second floor, but your parent struggles to walk up and down the stairs without help. You worry about a fall, which can be deadly, especially at that age.

Watch out for issues just keeping up the house. Simple things like cleaning windows, watering plants, mowing the yard and changing light bulbs may become impossible or dangerous. This could mean that independent living just is not the right option anymore.

Isolation

People do value their alone time, but isolation is not good for you. The elderly often feel very alone as their friends and loved ones -- of their own age -- pass away. You may be able to stop by on occasion, but you have a job and your own family. Is a visit once a week enough? A nursing home can help alleviate this isolation by letting residents live in a community with people just like them.

Is it time to make the move?

Every situation is unique, but this gives you some common signs to watch out for. Do you think it really is time for your parent to make the move? If so, make sure you understand the process and any legal steps you need to take.

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