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Broaching the Subject of a Nursing Home with Your Mother

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Your mother is 70-plus years old, showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and has been discharged from the hospital after a long illness. She now requires full-time care at home. You and your husband have careers of your own and you need to come to a decision and have everyone agree on what is the best for the family in the mid and long term. This is a dilemma faced increasingly by many families the world over.

Hard financial times often make it necessary for both men and women to work. Women also need to have their financial independence through following a career of choice, even if the home is financially comfortable. If you are a housewife and do not go out for work or are a work at home mother, caring for the old on a long-term basis could be very demanding on you and on the family fabric. What are your options at such a tricky time?

Before you broach the subject with your mother, it is important that you do some homework at your end. Some questions to ask yourself that will help you decide whether she needs to be sent for assisted living at all, are:

1. What advantages could your home offer to your mother?
2. What are the benefits you and your family can derive from a live-in aging parent?
3. Will you and your family be able to cope with this arrangement for long?
4. What will you need to sacrifice to give what is best for your mother?
5. How will it affect your relationship with your husband, family and friends?
6. What benefits a nursing home could offer to her?
7. What do the residential homes not always tell in their brochures but is the truth about their services and facilities? (Source: Dibbern & Dibbern Guide for Assisted Living and Senior Care; Topic: Considering a Nursing Home; Article Name: Unusual Questions to ask before Choosing a Nursing Home; URL: http://www.dibbern.com/nursing-homes/considering-nursing-home.htm)
8. What are the annual costs involved for assisted living?
9. What do your siblings say about the topic? Are they willing to help? How?

Should you decide that an assisted living arrangement is the best solution for your mother in the long term, given the data and family views you have, you are still left with the discomfort of telling her so. Remember, your mother is more experienced than you are and she might feel terrible being informed about your decision even though she may be expecting this decision coming her way. Put yourself in her shoes and empathize or imagine how you would feel should your daughter or son tell you that they think it is best for you to go into an assisted living home in your golden years.

Know that it is never going to be easy to talk about this with her the first time, so do not go into the conversation with huge expectations of a great or immediate outcome. Some things will need to be talked over for a few weeks before she is more comfortable with the idea. However, some pointers that may help you ease the situation are:

1. Include your siblings or family in the discussion. This is not your problem alone. Your sisters or brothers need to support you through this and need to do their part.
2. Try to make it sound like a better deal to your mother, where well-trained and more skilled help will be available round the clock. Tell her that she will find people her own age and condition there to mingle and share with. (Source: Guide To Nursing Homes; Topic: Nursing Home Family Guide; Article Name: ‘When It's Time to Start Talking about Nursing Homes’; URL: http://www.guidetonursinghomes.com/family-resources/about-nursing-homes.html)
3. Be soft, patient and loving in your conversation.
4. Watch her facial or other reactions such as body language to the conversation.
5. Do not give a specific date which will increase her anxiety or show you made a decision without consulting her first.
6. Assure her of the weekly visits, consistent love and support. Convey to her in some way that this is not a sign of "rejection" but being taken as a better alternative.
7. If she says she needs more time, you must give her another few days to consider the situation. This will help her calm down after the first reaction to the news and will enable her to view her condition and its demands more objectively.
8. Join a senior care support group and meet the people going through a similar phase and see how they are handling the subject in their lives.
9. Take your mother to see the home you intend for her, so that she is mentally ready for the environment. Show her the good things around the place. Inform the nursing home of your visit beforehand.
10. Assure her that she can have the things she needs on a daily basis taken with her, so she feels like home such as a radio, a clock, books and magazines, a small TV set, clothes of her choice, etc.

Be prepared for a reaction in the days to come, so it would be good if you could take a couple of days off after the subject of residential home has been discussed with your mother. Be watchful to note her activities and behavior, her mood and any changes therein from the usual routine. If there are changes, you must discuss them with your family and try to talk to your mother and help.

Again, as the date of a send-off comes close, take the time to take a couple of days off from work to watch her and spend time with her. This will help reduce chances of untoward outcomes that your mother may take if she is experiencing depression, etc., and will reduce the transition anxiety.

Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), the upcoming Rev Up Your Life! (Publisher: Hay House India) and Mentor Your Mind (Publisher: Sterling Publishers). She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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