Moving your parents into care isn’t an easy decision. It’s one that often comes with a lot of guilt and anxiety attached for you, and one that your parents are likely to find stressful and upsetting.
It’s never going to be easy, but there are a few things that you can do to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
The thing to keep at the forefront of your mind is that your parents are still your parents. Just because they now need some extra help, doesn’t mean that roles have now reversed and you are the one in charge. It’s important to respect their rights as independent adults.
The best way to do this is to have an open and honest conversation with them about your concerns and the reasons that you think moving them into care might be the best option.
When talking with your parents about moving them into care, there are a few things to remember:
- Have the conversation as early as possible. It’s likely that you will need to have the conversation multiple times before your parent starts to see your point of view, so treat the first conversation as ‘planting a seed.’ Having the conversation early also means that your parent is more likely to be able to get involved with the decision-making process, which will make things much easier.
- Keep it about how you feel. Talk about your concerns, rather than dictating orders. This is much more likely to get you the results you want.
- Listen carefully to what your parents have to say. They may have suggestions about how to manage your concerns that don’t line up with your original ideas, and it’s worth listening to them.
When you’re deciding what type of care facility will be best, it’s important to know what kind of care is required and how much of it.
The best way to do this is for a period of a month, make a note of any tasks that your parent requires help with. These might be things like getting dressed, bathing, remembering to take medication, paying bills, driving them to social events; include anything that you and other family members are doing. This will give you a realistic picture of what’s required.
It’s also worth doing your research on any conditions that your parent might have such as Alzheimer’s, to understand what their needs are likely to be in the future.
Start looking around potential nursing homes as early as possible. You can use the opportunity to let your parents see just how nice some facilities are and get them warmed up to the idea, and it also gives you the time to choose the right facility for you.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some facilities will have waiting lists, so it’s important to start early.
After your parent has moved into care you may find that their mental health is impacted for a while as they get used to the changes. This is something that it’s important you monitor and discuss with their care team.
You should also be prepared for an impact on your own mental health, and be sure to seek support for yourself.