Nursing Home Placement is Not Abuse
Many caregivers make the assumption that placing their loved one in a nursing home equates to abandonment or neglect. Actually, if done in the right spirit, placing a loved one in a nursing home could be the ultimate sign of compassion.
Let me give you a quick example.
Recently I worked with an elderly couple who lived together in their home. Both were frail and in only fair health. The husband actively assumed all responsibility for the care of his frail, confused wife whose health was quickly declining. The idea of placing his wife in a nursing home was absolutely mortifying to him. And he couldn't fathom the idea that this was in his and his wife's best interest. And while I don't think that nursing homes are a safety net for all elderly, nor do I think that all situations can be covered by some blanket solution, I do recognize that sometimes the situation calls for the placement of a loved one into a nursing home.
Just imagine how much more this man could enjoy the time he spent with his wife. He wouldn't have to be constantly worrying if his wife took her medication or worse yet if she took too much medication. He wouldn't have to lose sleep at night wondering if his fragile wife whom he has loved for so many years fell and broke her hip while going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It's true that there may be some separation, but just imagine the care that she could receive and the care that he would not need as he wouldn't always feel fatigued!
While this gentleman's intentions were for his wife, his understanding of nursing homes and their potential benefit to the elderly and infirm was completely off kilter. It's sad to me that so many people have a jaded view of nursing homes as hallways full of old people bleakly sitting in wheelchairs with no future other than the graveyard and nurse Kratchet forcing our parents and grandparents to swallow their pills just to shut them up.
I don't believe that anyone worth their salt wants to place their loved one into a nursing home just for the sake of placing their loved one in a nursing home. But when it's the well being of our loved one's on the line, that's not the same thing. We need to remove ourselves or, better yet, our preconceived ideas and prejudices from the equation. And yes we all have these inferences in every aspect of our lives. That's why it's so important to learn the truth about senior care options such as nursing homes and come to grips with what we believe about these choices for our loved ones. We need to attempt to be as objective as possible and do what is in the best interest of those we care for...not for what makes us comfortable.
If you feel as if looking at your loved one's situation objectively is a skill that you could improve on, then please sign up for our email list so that we can begin to overcome that struggle together.