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Asking Aunt Sarah to Leave Her Home to Move to a Nursing Facility

MP900442402This is one of the hardest parts of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or who is simply no longer able to take care of themselves safely and properly.

It starts with an aide who comes by a few times a week to take care of an ailing parent, then gradually progresses until one day you realize that a round-the-clock team, from the initial aid to social workers, physical therapist, nurse and others, are going in and out of the house to provide needed care. At that point, says The Huffington Post’s recent article, “How to Convince a Loved One With Alzheimer’s to Move to a Nursing Home,” it becomes clear that your loved one does need to be moved to nursing home.

The primary caregiver must often work full-time and is unable to provide adequate care. People with Alzheimer’s—and many frail, elderly people without it—who clearly need to be in a long-term care facility typically want to remain in their own homes. They often don’t realize that their condition is such that nursing home placement would be the best option for them. Some family members will also be adamantly opposed to the idea. In many instances, it’s tough because the patient vehemently objects, which makes family members feel guilty.

It’s agonizing, but caregivers need to think about the fact that long-term care placement can be the most loving option. Caring for him or her at home is probably having a serious effect on their own health and well-being. A caregiver should think of themselves as a “care advocate.” A care advocate can be vigilant to ensure that their loved one is getting the appropriate treatment and care in the facility while preserving their own physical and mental health.

Many Alzheimer’s patients will just refuse to go. It is, therefore, necessary to try to convince them that it’s best for their own health and well-being. Another option is asking another family member or even the person’s physician or attorney to talk with them. Sometimes those with Alzheimer’s pay more attention to the advice of a person other than their primary caregiver. The services of a geriatric care manager can also help with this process.

Another approach is “compassionate deception,” where you tell the person to go for a week,  stretch it out to two weeks, then three weeks and eventually they adjust to being there full time. Those patients who are significantly impaired, may even forget they were supposed to go back home or may not be aware they aren’t at home.

If these don’t work, and you have power of attorney, you may have to ask for help from a social worker or law enforcement.  However, this should only been done as a last resort, when there is concern that the person may become a danger to him or herself or others. The person is usually taken to a hospital geriatric psychiatry unit for evaluation and treatment. He or she may then be released to a nursing home.

In the worst case scenario, you may need to ask the court to be appointed as the person’s guardian or conservator. An Elder Law attorney will be able to help you go through this process, which will ultimately give you the legal standing to make decisions. It won’t be easy, but you will know that you did the right thing for your loved one, and that he or she is getting the correct care.

Reference: Huffington Post (February 3, 2017) “How to Convince a Loved One With Alzheimer’s to Move to a Nursing Home”

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