How to talk to your parent about nursing home care

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Nursing Home Planning

As our parents age, we tend to grow concerned about their well-being. Their physical and cognitive abilities might decline, rendering it difficult for them to take care of themselves, or they might be completely socially isolated.

A nursing home stay might provide your loved one with the care and support needed, but if your parents isn’t even considering it at this point, then the obligation may fall on you to raise the issue. But how are you going to broach the topic in a way that will be well-received by your parent?

That’s a good question. After all, you don’t want your parent to get so angry at you for suggesting a nursing home stay that it negatively impacts your relationship in the long-term. So, let’s look at some ideas for discussing a nursing home stay and nursing home planning so that you know where you can start the conversation.

Tips for talking to your parent about nursing home care

It can be hard to find an angle to start your conversation with your parent about nursing home care. However, here are some ideas that you might find helpful in getting started:

  • Identify your concerns: There’s a reason that you think nursing home care is a viable option for your parent. Clearly articulate your concerns so that your parent has a full understanding of your justifications for exploring this avenue. So, be sure to address your parent’s medical conditions, their ability to manage themselves, and even the condition of their housing.
  • Learn your parent’s options: There are a lot of different nursing home and long-term care options that your parent might be able to utilize. By educating yourself on what each has to offer, you can engage your parent in a productive conversation that educates them on their options. This might put their mind at ease by dispelling some of the negative associations they might have with nursing home and other long-term care options.
  • Start the conversation early: Your parent is going to be more receptive to a discussion about long-term care when they’re healthy. So, the sooner you can start the conversation the better.
  • Listen carefully: As you start to discuss nursing home care, your parent is probably going to make a lot of statements that are indicative of their concerns. By carefully listening to them, you might be able to redirect in a way that alleviates their worries.
  • Be ready for an ongoing conversation: The decision to seek out long-term care is a major one, so don’t expect your parent to make a choice after a brief conversation. This is a topic that you’ll likely have to revisit multiple times before your parent becomes comfortable with the situation.
  • Discuss how to pay for it: If your parent is balking at long-term care because of concerns over costs, do your best to let them know that there are options to help them pay for it. This may include MassHealth/Medicaid planning, which you can find more about throughout our blog and the rest of our website.

Do what you can to protect your loved one’s interests

Ultimately, the decision to seek nursing home or other long-term care is up to your parent unless there’s a guardianship in place. But you can help them make the decisions that are best for them by informing them and assisting them in addressing their concerns. By doing so, you’ll hopefully put your parent in a position where they’re comfortable seeking out the care that they need.