Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Great Nursing Home Debate

It is the discussion no one really wants to have. What happens when your parents or grandparents need more help, or can't care for themselves anymore? Nursing homes are one option, but most of my family members are reluctant to leave the homes they built and have raised their family in.

My great grandfather was a handsome man with his shocking white full head of hair and blue eyes. He lived in his home with his beloved black lab till he died in his early 90's. He was still amazingly agile and could take care of himself, that and he was adamant that he wanted to stay in his own home on the lake. In the end, he missed his wife and was probably rather lonely living alone. I always wondered if he would have rather lived with friends and activities to fill his days in a community setting.

My husband is very fortunate to have both sets of grandparent's still living. They both live in their own homes and have decided to stay there with modifications to make their homes safer. From modified bath tubs to railing and a network of neighbors and family looking in, they are happy to continue living in their homes. We just live down the street from several aging family members. But of course we all worry about the possibility of falls or accidents.

I know this is not the right situation for all families. But it is working or us at the moment. I currently have two small children and wouldn't have the time, room or ability to be a live-in caregiver for other family members. I can barely keep 2 toddlers under control. In this case we would have to look into skilled nursing homes to provide safe and compassionate care for our loved ones. Ultimately we want our relatives to enjoy their remaining years in comfort and safety.

It is never an easy decision, and it is a hard topic to bring up with family, but it is one we can't ignore. What experiences have you had with elder care? What choices have you had to make?

*Disclaimer - I am participating in the “What about Mom & Dad” campaign by AvalonHCI.com I received compensation to facilitate this post. However, the views and opinions are my own.
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