Is It Time to Transition Your Parent Into a Nursing Home?

Moving a parent to a nursing home is a choice that no adult wants to make for their loved one. In making the decision, there will be a sense of loss, a sense of guilt and a sense of grieving over this new change.

Remember that no good parent truly wants to burden his or her child - and they certainly don't want to cause you harm if they're not in their right mind. You're going to second-guess your decision - you wouldn't be human if you didn't. Your parent might be angry or saddened by your decision, too - they wouldn't be human if they weren't.

How can you tell if it's time for your parent to live in a nursing home? There are warning signs, some subtle and some obvious, that can let you know when the time is right. Below are some signs you should be aware of with your parent's aging.

You parent's personality changes. They seem angry over seemingly non-important issues. They say things to you that they normally wouldn't say. They may say cruel or vulgar remarks when they wouldn't have done that in the past.

They start to show signs of dementia. Some of the signs of dementia are not remembering where they put things to the extent that it interferes with their life. For example, they can't go anywhere because they can't remember where they left the car keys. They don't know what day it is or what time it is. They have trouble communicating what they mean to say and then get angry that you don't understand them.

They begin to show signs of poor health habits - not eating, not sleeping, and not changing their clothes for days on end. When you're around them, you notice a strong body odor such as urine.

Their home begins to smell bad and looks unclean. They make very poor financial decisions and are often targets for people who would take advantage of them financially. They don't get around as easily and are prone to falling down.

No matter how much you love your parent, if you're not capable of providing full time care for them, the best thing you can do is to get them into a loving facility that can provide for their needs. In the case of a parent who develops dementia or Alzheimer's, personality changes can occur to the point where they become a physical danger to you.

If your loved one balks at the idea of entering a nursing home, the best step is to have an open conversation with your parent and explain that you only want what's best for both of you.

Understand that some of their reluctance is based in the fear of the unknown and the fear that they're giving up all of their independence. Putting your parent into a nursing home will be the toughest choice you'll ever have to make - but in the end, it can be the right choice for all who are involved.