Alleviate the guilt: most common reasons for putting a relative in a nursing home
As the carer of a relative, acknowledging that a nursing home may be the best option can be a heart wrenching moment. But as a relative’s health declines, choosing the right nursing home can help improve the quality of life of a loved one and give you peace of mind, in the knowledge that they are being well cared for.
Many people feel guilty at the very idea of putting an elderly relative in a residential nursing home. However, difficult as it may be initially, finding the right nursing home is most often the best decision for all involved, as it allows you to spend enjoyable, quality time together while the practical elements of their care are overseen by experienced health professionals.
Every person is different, and their set of circumstances and reasons for considering a care home will, therefore, also be unique. However, there are three key reasons which, alone or in combination, could spur the dialogue about considering a nursing home:
1. Increasing health care needs
As we age, our health becomes more delicate and harder to predict. As a result, care needs that seem manageable in the first instance can develop into more serious conditions, which can become increasingly hard to cope with. Health issues such as dementia, decreased mobility and incontinence, for example, will mean that, at some stage, your loved one will need constant supervision. Lack of supervision can pose serious health risks, leading to potentially life threatening illness or complications. Additionally, being a care giver can involve coping with a demanding routine of medications, trips to doctors, hospitals and clinics, as well as fluctuations in behaviour and health. Nursing homes provide constant supervision, experienced staff and established, regulated systems which mean that every element of your loved one’s care is dealt with seamlessly.
2. Other obligations
As guilty as it may make you feel, the fact is, you have other life obligations that may mean you are unable to provide the person you love with the levels of care and support that they need and deserve. Family, work, and managing a household already demand a certain amount of time and commitment from you, and being a caregiver can be a demanding, role. Recognising that taking on the role of care giver could have an adverse effect on your relationships, dependents, career, or life in general is not a selfish acknowledgement, but a practical concern that must be addressed in order to make sure that the person you love gets the care they need. By overstretching yourself, you will not only be putting your personal relationships at risk, but the health of the person you love.
3. Financial burdens
Often, and understandably, people choose to seek higher levels of care at home as a preferable option to moving into a nursing home. Whilst some of these costs will be covered on the NHS, it is often necessary for a proportion of the costs to be paid for by you, as the carer, or your loved one. If this is the case, as home care costs rise alongside home care needs, a nursing home is often the most financially viable option, as well as the safest one.
Sometimes, deciding that a residential nursing home could be the best option for a loved one comes with feelings of inadequacy or failure. It is important that you recognise that this is not the case; you are addressing the limitations in the care that you, yourself can provide in order to ensure the safety and ongoing health of someone you love. By allowing qualified professionals to take over day-to-day care in a safe, pleasant, happy environment, you will leave yourself free to enjoy memorable, quality time with your loved one and your family.
If you would like help choosing a nursing home near you, or for more information and advice about choosing the best care home, contact us.