When It's Time to Start Talking about Nursing Homes

about nursing homesWhen time to research nursing homes, it's time to start talking about it too.

Starting to talk about nursing homes with your loved one can be a challenge to say the least! Unfortunately, too many well-meaning caretakers postpone the conversation too long for fear of upsetting—or worse, alienating—their loved one. We know how murky the waters can get when it comes to introducing this all-important topic. Here are some specific tips to help you broach the subject with your loved one in a caring, beneficial way.

Start with the Facts: Research Nursing Homes

Ideally, you'll allow yourself enough time to research nursing homes at your own pace, when you're relaxed and focused. Give yourself time to get beyond all the hype about nursing homes, arming yourself with facts instead. When you're prepared, it'll be easier to stay positive—a cornerstone of successful talks about nursing homes.

Talk about Nursing Homes When the Move is Still a Ways Off

Making a confident decision depends on the preparation you do ahead of time, so make sure you keep a good eye on your loved one's health and well-being. If you start thinking about nursing homes when the move still seems a long way off, you will be more prepared if a crisis forces the subject early.

Right when you start to research nursing homes on your own, you should begin broaching the subject with your loved one. Talking about nursing homes when he is still healthy and independent will help normalize the conversation, paving the way for positive communication throughout the process.

Get to the Heart: Research Your Loved One

Many nursing home residents start their senior care experience after receiving custodial (or even medical) care at home. These seniors are often hesitant to talk about nursing homes because of the negative connotation they received before the industry was revamped in the 1990s. If your frail or aging loved one avoids the topic, you may have to do some friendly snooping to find a home that's a good fit.

We recommend spending time observing your loved one to get a good idea of her likes and dislikes, her preferred lifestyle and any idiosyncratic quirks. Think about his personality. Does he prefer quiet? Maybe a smaller, home-based facility will work for him. Or is she the life of the party at 92? Then research nursing homes with lots of residents and activities.

Focus on the Good Things about Nursing Homes

When the time comes to introduce the subject (again, this is ideally months or even years before the move becomes necessary), use your research to educate your loved one about the care he will receive. Talk about the social aspect of skilled nursing facilities, the good meals, private rooms, laundry service and chauffeured outings. When you research nursing homes, pay close attention to the positive qualities of senior care that your loved one will particularly like, and focus on those when you talk about nursing homes.

Get Senior Care Support

Some situations require extra help from trained professionals or experienced friends. You may have a particularly tough time if your loved one suffers from early or mid-stage cognitive impairment. Regardless of the situation, if your loved one refuses to get the help you know he needs, there are people who can help. You may need to visit a geriatric care specialist, see a counselor or join a support group to find camaraderie and get ideas.

Wherever you are on your journey, you can't afford to let anything get in the way of your loved one's safety. When it's time to talk seriously about nursing homes, you can call the number at the top right of this page and one of our elder care advisors will listen to your story and connect you with some facilities in your area that might be a good match for your loved one. Our services are always quick and free, with no obligation to buy.

For more information, or to research nursing homes further, we recommend you start by reading through our section, "All About Nursing Homes."