Assisted Living Facility Decisions

Making Difficult Decisions – When Is the Right Time for Your Parents to Enter a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?

At some point in time during everyone’s lifetime, you have to answer this question — when do you need to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility for mom or dad? This is not pleasant decision to make, but it’s a very important decision. We’re here to hopefully shed some light regarding how best to cope with the guilt of that decision, as well as trying to determine how to actually choose a nursing home for mom and/or dad.

The most important thing to consider is that mom and dad need to be protected. They need to be in a protected environment. Now if that’s their home and you feel comfortable with that, that’s great. But if mom and dad are a fall risk, that’s another story. They need to be in a protected environment so that if they do fall, they’re not injured. And if they do fall, there needs to be somebody there that is physically able to help them.

Now if they were in a nursing home facility and they fell, of course you’ve got the orderlies and the CNAs there to help them. Or if they were in an assisted living facility, they’d have help there too. If they’re at home, there’s usually a spouse there to help them. But in many cases, that spouse is elderly as well and not strong enough to help them off the floor or ground. As a result, you need to ensure that mom and/or dad are in a protected environment so that they can be properly assisted should they fall.

Realize that this set of unfortunate circumstances is not your fault. Life has given you lemons, so let’s try to make some lemonade. Mom and dad are getting older and there’s no way to stop time. Maybe they’re a fall risk, they have dementia, they have some mobility problems, they have incontinence issues, whatever it may be. Those things are big issues that you have to manage on a day to day basis. So how do you do that as their caretaker?

As a caretaker, you’re taking care of mom and/or dad 365 days a year. That’s a huge responsibility. I bet you didn’t know this, but 60% of all caregivers die before the person that requires care. Why is that? It’s called caregiver stress. If you’re taking care of somebody 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year — that’s a ton of stress. It’s especially tough during the holiday season when you have so many other obligations to fulfill.

So how do you determine if mom and dad need a protected environment, whether it be a nursing home or assisted living facility? If you have siblings, ask for help. Hold a family meeting and tell your siblings what is happening with mom and dad. Explain to them that mom and/or dad need 24 hour supervision, and that you are no longer able to do it. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

If your siblings are unable to help you, then you are faced with a tough decision. You’re naturally going to feel some level of guilt with this, but please don’t be too hard on yourself. You need to remember that you didn’t cause this. You didn’t cause mom and dad’s old age. You didn’t cause mom and dad’s dementia, incontinence, or whatever it may be.

How do you deal with this situation, manage the guilt, and make the decision easier for you? I highly recommend consulting your parents doctor. Explain the situation to the doctor and ask them for suggestions. Ask the doctor if they think that your mom and dad will be sufficiently protected at home, or if they would be better protected in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Let the doctor help make that decision for you. Having that recommendation from a physician will help you feel better about the tough decision you have to make. You now have the support of medical professionals who can help point you in the right direction so that mom and/or dad receive the proper care and protection.

How to Choose the Right Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?

Once you’ve made the decision for mom and/or dad to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility, how do you determine which facility is best for them? The best source of recommendations would be family and friends. Ask everyone you know about all the facilities in your area. Also, go visit the prospective nursing homes or assisted living facilities. COVID has definitely made visiting more difficult, but try to schedule a time where you can see the facility and talk to the staff.

There’s also a website that allows you to see ratings for the facilities in your area. Click here to visit that site where you can enter your zip code and see all the nursing homes in your area with a 1 to 5 star rating for each. That’s a great way to compare and determine the facilities you might want to visit and investigate further.

Just remember that none of this is your fault. It’s not due to anything you have done. You’re making this decision, yes. But you’re making this decision in the best interest of your parents or grandparents — whoever is requiring the constant supervision and protection. Their protection is the number one priority, in addition to their independence, safety, and security.

You can no longer be there every minute of every day watching them and caring for them. You have a life too. You’re the caretaker, yes, but you need to have some down time to recharge your batteries. So mom and/or dad’s safety, independence, and security are paramount. They need to be in a protected environment. If that environment is not home — and we all hope and pray it is home because that’s where everybody feels most comfortable — then we have to determine the best alternative.

The alternatives are assisted living or nursing home facilities. In the state of Georgia, all assisted living facilities are private pay facilities. This means that there is no government assistance to pay for residence at an assisted living facility in Georgia. The average assisted living cost in Georgia is $3,400 to $4,300, so you or your parents would need to have income or assets to cover those costs. A nursing home stay can be funded via private pay (like the assisted living mentioned above), or it can be funded via public benefits such as Medicaid.

Contact Us So We Can Help You

As we’ve addressed on many of your previous blogs, qualifying for Medicaid can be a difficult process for some individuals due to their income or assets. But we’ll be glad to assist you with the proper legal steps to ensure that the family assets are protected in the case that mom or dad requires nursing home care. We’ll answer any questions you may have about Medicaid and qualifications for your loved ones. Please send us an email to [email protected], complete this form, or feel free to call us at 229-226-8183.

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