Caring for an aging parent can be challenging. It is hard to feed your parents, change their diapers, bathe them, and clean their house. You love them but providing in home care for them while juggling your own home, job and children can have an ill effect on your own health and safety. It can be overwhelming and can become dangerous for you and your parent. So, what do you do if your parent needs a nursing home but won’t go?
Don’t lose hope. There are options, although they will include some difficult decisions and difficult conversations. Here are some options.
- The best way to get them into a nursing home for their own benefit is for them to recognize it and go willingly. Try to have a conversation with your parent about the situation. If you were no longer there to provide the care of feeding them, cleaning them, maybe changing their diapers, what would they do? Do they fall often? Are they able to take their meds independently? Maybe bring in a geriatric social worker to help with the conversation as a neutral third party.
Address their fears. Maybe their mental image of nursing homes is from the time of COVID where no visitors were allowed and there was a shortage of staff. Ask them what their greatest fears are and tackle them one at a time.
- If your parent has executed a health care power of attorney (HCPOA), the HCPOA may have the rights to move them to a safer, more appropriate living environment. If your parent doesn’t have a HCPOA, talk with an attorney about setting one in place. Think about who might be a good person in that role. Consider someone who is not so close to the situation, but who is someone that your parent would trust to make decisions about heir healthcare for a time when they cannot decide for themselves.
- You may need to petition the court for a conservatorship or guardianship. This will include a determination of the mental capacity of the parent as well as their health problems. If a medical professional determines that the parent cannot make financial or medical decisions safely for themselves, then you may be granted the conservatorship or guardianship to make decisions for them much easier.
Caregivers must remember self-care amidst caring for parents. Just like airline attendants tell you, place your oxygen mask on before placing an oxygen mask on one in your care. Your parents need you to be strong and healthy so that you can take care of them. If you don’t and you are not available, what happens to your parents then? For your sake and theirs, get help from available resources. If your parent refuses assisted living but is in danger, call an elder care lawyer who can help you review your options, advise you about guardianships, or refer you to social services who can help.
For more information, contact our Lebanon, TN office at 615-444-3568 and schedule your appointment today.