Question: Hi Luise: I just went and visited a nursing home for my mom and walked away feeling really horrible. I am so scared to put her someplace where she will get lost in the crowd. I also have heard horror stories about abuse in nursing homes. What should I do? I love my mom, but I am unable to care for her. If you have any advice to help me know what to do I would appreciate it. Cecilia
Answer: Dear Cecilia: Good for you for wanting to look closer before your leap. I can only tell you what is available where I live and you will have to research what resources you have. It makes a lot of difference what country you live in, what part of it and then whether it’s city, town or rural.
Look and see if you have a Senior Services number you can call. Your mother’s doctor probably would know. We have one that will counsel and recommend. Beyond a nursing home, there is often the option of in-home care or a licensed adult, group home that usually serves three to five seniors.
There are many kinds of nursing homes depending on the funding, philosophy, and staffing. My personal take on it is that even the very best is not a place I would want to go. However, they often offer more in the way of activities and treatment options than an adult, group home does. Look at all of the angles. There are just as many kinds of adult, group homes, too…usually depending on the owner. Whether you are private-pay, Medicare or Medicaid can make a big difference, too, where I live.
I have had two, close friends who tried larger facilities first but ended up putting their respective moms into adult, group homes. They both did exhaustive searches and found homes that were deeply caring. Another dear friend kept his mom in her own home with a five day, twenty-four-hour caregiver. On the weekends, he and his two sisters rotated staying with her. It was hard on everyone, but at her funeral, which I attended, they were all so glad they had taken it on and seen it through.
Do your research carefully and thoroughly and do your best. That’s all you can do and it will probably make all the difference in the world to your mom. Blessings, Luise