When Should You Put Your Mother or Father into a Nursing Home?

Every child in the world today fears having to deal with an aging parent.  In today’s 21st century world, mostly every person in the household must work unless you are to young to get a job.  The problem arises when you have an aging parent that needs 24-hour care. 

Nursing homes have become more popular in the United States and around the world because 21st century society is expensive and adult children must work full time jobs and take care of their own children. It is often difficult for an adult child to take care of their parent that needs 24-hour care. 

Despite its difficulties, many adult children try to take care of their parent on their own and often fail.  It is important to evaluate whether you can really take care of your mother or father properly 24 hours a day.  Nursing homes are often good because they do provide the service of taking care of your parent around the clock.  Your aging parent often has needs of incontinent issues, having to be fed, memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Leaving a parent alone at home while you are at work is often not a safe or good idea. 

Many adult children often chance letting their parent stay alone in the home while they are at work. However, many times the son or daughter will walk into their home and find that their parent is lying on the floor for hours because they fell or because they got dizzy. 

Most children have heard their parent growing up saying, “Never put me into one of those places. You know a nursing home. Don’t leave me there. I would rather be dead than to go into one of those places.” 

Adult children today often feel guilty about putting their parent into a nursing home.  Can they go back on their promise of always wanting to be there for their parent? 

Unfortunately, adult children do feel guilty to often. However, when a parent says this to their child, they are often well enough to take care of themselves.  They are cooking, cleaning, taking showers on their own.  They don’t need 24-hour supervision. 

Adults Should Consider Putting Their Parent into a Skilled Nursing Facility When:

  1. A parent needs 24-hour care.
  2. When you begin getting angry at your parent for taking up your time consistently. Taking care of a person that can’t take care of themselves often brings out an anger of frustration. This is normal for anyone taking care of someone that can’t take care of themselves.  Anyone that has ever had to take care of someone that is not able to take care of themselves goes through daily anger and frustration. If you feel that it is ruining your life and causing you to become angry, its time to put your parent into a nursing home.  You don’t want to grow to hate your parent.  You want to stay loving them. You are frustrated because its hard to take care of your own life, working 8 or more hours a day and taking care of your own children.  Nursing homes allow the burden to be taken off you.
  3. You find that your parent is having difficulty shutting off the oven after cooking, not wanting to shower or bath on their own (usually because they can’t stand long enough to shower or because it becomes to much work for them).
  4. You find that your parent is suffering from extreme loneliness and forgets to eat or drink water. In many cases, the elderly can become dehydrated.

Elderly Care Can Be Expensive

  • Nursing homes often charge between $7,000 and $10,000 per month to take care for your parent 24 hours a day in long term care.
  • Nursing homes with assisted living programs often charge $3,500 to $5,000 per month for 24-hour care.

Adult children often wonder how they can afford to pay for nursing care.  In most cases, self-pay is required.  For those that qualify for Medicaid, most states will pay for the care 100% of the time.  This is often for the elderly that need 24-hour care and have less than $2,000 in savings.  If your parent owns a home or has anything over this amount of money, your parent being able to get Medicaid can vary. You should talk to the nursing home to find out what you are eligible for.


Usually, insurance companies don’t pay for nursing home care. However, if your parent purchased a long-term care plan, they may be able to use that for nursing care. 

If you want to hire a nurse’s aide to come to your home, it can be more costly than a nursing home. In some states like Florida, home health care aides can cost as much as $18.00 per hour.  If you add that up for 24 hours of care a day, it can cost around $300.00 per day. 

Gather Your Family Together to Pay for Nursing Care

Its important to tell other siblings in the family about your mother or father needing care. Often, the children will come together in order to pay for the care of their parent.  If there are 3 children, sometimes contributing $3,000 per family household can pay for your parent’s care.  This is something that will have to be discussed amongst your family.

If your family is in a state in which everyone is working minimum wage jobs or jobs that don’t pay much money, nursing care home bills can be out of range.  If this is your situation, its important to see if your spouse can work and support the family while you stay home to take care of your parent.  If you are not married or have nobody else around you to help take care of your parent, its going to be a challenge. 

Downsizing to a Lower Income Home

If you want to have more money to provide for your parent, it’s important to see what expenses you can eliminate to pay for their care.  Also, does your parent have a car that can be sold to help pay for care.  Find out how much savings they have in order to pay for nursing care.

Moving into a cheaper home often allows you to have more money in your pocket to pay for your parents needs.  Remember, the object is to start gathering more money so that you can provide for your parent. 

Hiring an Elder Attorney

In some cases, it might be helpful to hire an elder care attorney to fight for your parent to receive Medicaid to go into a long-term care facility. Often your parents’ finances are not as “black and white” as Medicaid would like them to be.  Perhaps your parent sold a home and the proceeds went to something that he/she spent money on.  An attorney would have to explain to Medicaid what your mother/father spent this money on while she was well and not in need of 24-hour nursing home care. Sometimes, Medicaid will deny your mother or fathers claim for assistance because it wants to see that the money has been exhausted completely before they will pay any money out of pocket.  They want to see that your parent spent their money and that they have no money left to pay for care.  Check with your local Medicaid office for assistance with this issue.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes also referred to as convalescent homes, care homes, rest homes, or older people’s homes, offer residential care for both the elderly and disabled by providing nursing care 24/7. They care for people who do not necessarily need to be admitted to a hospital but require special attention that cannot be provided at home. A nursing home has several nurses who are specially trained to offer care to the residents of the nursing home. Other than delivering care to the elderly and disabled, they also provide care to patients who are recovering from surgeries or illnesses and require rehabilitation. Speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy are also offered in most nursing homes.

Other Services Offered at Nursing Homes

Occupational Therapy

This type of treatment helps patients regain skills after any cognitive and physical changes caused by an injury or illness. It focuses on daily activities such as grooming, bathing, and dressing. It is particularly common in patients who have undergone amputation. Occupational therapy is also used to assist patients in daily living activities at home and financial management, such as education, sleep, social participation, etc.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is offered to patients after an injury, illness, or surgery to help them regain muscle memory, strength, balance, and range of motion. It is also used to prevent accidents and injuries caused by loss of mobility; it increases fitness levels and reduces pain. It enables patients to attain a certain level of independence. Patients who are suffering or recovering from diseases like cancer, arthritis, dementia, and stroke benefit immensely from this type of therapy. Persons living with disabilities are also beneficiaries of physical therapy.

Speech-language Therapy

Persons with problems of coordinating muscles and movements used to produce speech use speech-language therapy to help them regain and develop speech patterns. Other than developing speech, this type of treatment also helps patients who have problems with swallowing food, which is common in patients. This type of therapy aims at the phonology, apraxia, receptive language, and fluency.

Importance of Nursing Homes

Society assumes that people who put their parents or family members in a nursing home are neglecting them or just trying evade the responsibility of caring for them. However, this is not always the case. Nursing homes are significant when it comes to caring for the elderly and people with special needs because they have the necessary resources to care for their residents properly. They have well-trained nurses and caregivers who understand the needs of their patients and residents. Most nursing homes are affiliated to a hospital and are therefore able to provide faster access to medication in case of medical emergencies.

The second importance of nursing homes is that they can provide personalized and intimate care to the residents. If you are juggling between work, raising kids and, taking care of an older adult, you may find it challenging to balance your time. The older adult may end up feeling sidelined or neglected, even when it is not intentional. We all need a helping hand, and nursing homes are one of them. Their care is customized to each resident, and this ensures that all their needs are well-considered and sorted. Simple tasks such as administration of medicine and feeding are done on time.

Nursing homes are more affordable compared to in-hospital care. They provide similar services for less, and this reduces the financial constraint on the family. Another great advantage of a nursing home is that they have more flexible visiting hours. Family members and friends can come to visit more often and for longer hours compared to if the patient was in a hospital. They also provide a serene environment that is homey and familiar to the patients. Hospitals are the most comfortable place to be in, and therefore, nursing homes are always a better option.

Nursing homes have caregivers who help the residents, especially the elderly, perform their daily routines such as grooming, cooking, and cleaning. Even though the elderly struggle to perform some of these tasks, they still prefer doing them themselves so that they can maintain their routine and sense of independence. Research shows that performing activities of daily living helps improve the quality of life in older folks.

The last and most important benefit of living in a nursing home is companionship. Solitude can cause depression and anxiety, and this can lead to deterioration of health. Unlike hospitals, nursing homes provide caring companions for patients. The residents of the home can interact with people their age and reminisce about the good old days. They engage in fun games such as bingo and other social activities such as reading and walking around the block.

What to Look for in a Nursing Home?

There are a few things that you should put into consideration when looking for a nursing home for your loved one or yourself. The current residents of the nursing home are a great source of information, how they respond to you can tell a lot about how they are being treated. By just observing, you should be able to tell the quality of the services provided. Are the residents happy and engaged, or are they overmedicated and groggy? Are they well-groomed? Are meals and medication provided on time? The list is endless. During family visits, you can ask the elderly about their impressions on the home. The high chances are that he or she loves the environment.

 The staff is the most critical element because they will be taking care of your loved ones. Some of the things to look out for include staff turnover frequency, the number of staff members available during holidays, weekends, and weekdays. Also, observe how the staff treats the patients and how qualified are they as nurses and caregivers.

Other things to look out for are the cleanliness of the home, diet, layout, and activities provided. It is primal that the nursing home maintains a high level of hygiene because poor hygiene can cause infections and other diseases. If your loved one requires a special diet, how accommodating are they to your meal plans. Does the layout of the home resemble that of a hospital, or is it homier and lastly what type of activities and events are offered at the facility and how frequent are they?  You should only move into a home that makes you feel comfortable and at ease.

Nursing homes offer a helping hand to people who wish to provide the best care for their loved ones but don’t have the means or time to do it themselves. They are a better option compared to hospitals because they provide a familiar and friendly environment for patients to recover in and the elderly to rest and spend their time. When it comes to taking care of the elderly, this is an excellent option.  The elderly are able to receive personalized care around people their age who they can relate to and share experiences. When choosing a nursing home for your loved ones, it is crucial to do extensive research. Consider settling for a home that provides excellent care and one that provides comfort for your loved one. A nursing home should always feel like a home away from home.

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