Moving to a nursing home or moving a loved one to a nursing home is often a heart-wrenching decision that does not come easily. It requires much well thought out planning, a process of elimination, and a great deal of courage. Even with that in place, it is a very difficult situation and one that leaves little choice in the matter.
Having to go to a nursing home is either the choice of the person going into one or the choice of a family member or a close friend. The primary reason for entering a nursing home is due to ill health. The person entering a nursing home is either too ill to take care of himself, there is a lack of insurance to continue in a hospital setting or obtain home nursing care, or a family member or close friend is unable to care for them any longer.
In past generations and in other parts of the country it is typically the family who cares for an ill parent. Today, due to dwindling and costly economic situations, families are forced to work outside the home for a longer length of time leaving nobody to care for their elderly family members.
Other reasons to enter a nursing home are the possibility of the risk of injuries without anyone available to supervise the elderly’s care. Many of our elderly are lonely and therefore do not care to be alone without anyone around. Some of our elderly have adult children, but they live out of town and therefore not available. Many also do not drive anymore or their friends have either passed on or have moved into nursing homes themselves leaving all alone.
A person entering a nursing home is at a great risk for depression. They are being required to leave their homes that they may have lived in for most of their lives, but also many of their possessions, as there is not enough room in a nursing home to take them. Another factor in the development of depression as an elderly person enters a nursing home is their loss of independence. They are no longer able to maintain their same routine and must rely on others for assistance with their daily care.
They must also abide somewhat to a change in their schedule, as they have known it. Mealtimes are at the same time every day, activities are planned out and again according to a set schedule based on the nursing home’s daily events and staffing availability. Sometimes a person in a nursing home must agree to a different doctor, different church activities, and a different daytime/nighttime schedule.
Many feelings are associated with the loss of having to leave one’s home and enter a nursing home situation. These feelings may be in the form of depression, anger, bitterness, sadness, and aggravation.
Hopefully, after some time the person entering a nursing home situation will adjust and come to tears with it enjoying what is left of their life here on earth. With the guidance, patient, and support of a loving family and a kind staff in the nursing home, they can learn to be reasonably happy and regain some of the quality of life that they have had previously.