Deciding that it’s time for a parent to enter a nursing home isn’t easy. However, it’s harder when your other parent doesn’t need that extra care. If you’re worried about how to handle the situation, here are some tips that can help.
Choosing the Best Nursing Home
In the United States, there are about 15,600 nursing home facilities. Each one is unique, offering specific benefits and drawbacks.
One place to begin is by examining staffing ratios. There are both federal and state-level requirements that outline staffing minimums. However, depending on the kind of care residents require, finding facilities with above-minimum staffing levels may be necessary.
When you’re trying to choose the best nursing home for a parent, you also need to take a close look at your options. Your goal is to determine what’s ideal for the situation, not just which facility has the best general ratings.
For instance, certain medical conditions may require specialized care. This is common with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. In that case, a nursing home that focuses on memory care is more critical, as other facilities may not have the needed amount of expertise.
There are also other points you need to explore along the way, including:
- Monthly Cost
- Accepted Insurance
- Amenities and Programs
- Visitation Rules
- Interaction Quality
- Resident Comfort and Happiness
If another factor could play a role in your parent’s experience, then include it when you’re doing research. That way, you can find the ideal match for them.
Dealing with the Cost of Long-Term Care
In many cases, long-term care facilities are expensive. Many families have trouble finding ways to handle the cost, especially if one parent is going while the other remains at home.
As a first step, explore all available insurance coverage. Medicare usually doesn’t provide any coverage for lengthy nursing homestays. However, Medicaid programs may offer help if your parents are low-income. Additionally, if they have private insurance, nursing home care may be part of those plans.
After that, it’s time to expand. Look at any available savings and retirement plan funds. If there is more in those accounts than your parents will need for the remainder of their lives, tapping those resources could be wise. The same can apply to a whole-life insurance policy that has a cash value.
Since only one parent will need housing outside of the nursing home, selling their house to free up cash can be a good move. Calculate the value of the house as a starting point. Then, estimate the available home equity by subtracting the remaining mortgage balance from the house’s fair market value.
Downsizing for Your Other Parent
With just one person staying at home, downsizing may be the best choice. It can make managing the house easier, especially during what can be an emotionally challenging period.
Discuss their housing needs now that one parent is in a nursing home. See if something smaller could be a better fit. Additionally, help them automate other household responsibilities. Automatic bill payments, food delivery services, cleaning services, and other options may reduce their burden, allowing them to adjust to their new life with greater ease.
Focus on Compassion
As you move one parent into a nursing home, focus on staying compassionate. This transition isn’t easy for anyone, but especially when it comes to your parents. There is going to be fear, anxiety, confusion, loneliness, and heartache. Every conversation comes from a place of kindness and empathy. That way, you can be there for both of them during this difficult time.