Is it acceptable to put your parents in a nursing home?
In a video “Facing Dementia” done by CNA insider, it told the story and struggles of Danny who became his mother’s caregiver when she fell prey to dementia. In the interview with him, he said: “I contemplated sending her to a home, but cannot. How can? No way.” When the interviewer asked for his reason, his voice cracked as he explained: “She was stuck in Tan Tock Seng Ren Ci nursing home for 3 months. Every time I was in the ward, I see her sitting there staring blankly, and it just kills me.”
Even in cultures vastly different, there is still a stigma that comes with aged care facilities. The media’s often negative portrayal of nursing homes creates a stigmatised perception of it and it’s worth. Many would immediately associate such facilities with the old and frail elderly. Rapidly declining health, loss of independence, and being mistreated by caregivers are commonly thought of. Nicknamed the “Death Valley” or “Twilight Zone”, the decision whether or not to put your parents in a nursing home when the time comes becomes a difficult one.
“Every time I was at the ward, I see her sitting there staring blankly, and it just kills me.”
Especially in Asian societies like Singapore, the idea of sending elderly parents to Singapore nursing homes is still a conservative thought. Yet, as the need for more advanced and holistic care increases, we are faced with more decisions to make. Many people struggle with having to juggle between being a caregiver, committing to their jobs, and still meeting the needs of the rest of the family. As time passes and stress builds up, we start to find ourselves looking for alternative services.
A nursing home becomes an option for caregivers when their loved one requires more medical attention and care that the caregiver is unable to fulfill. A nursing home provides elder care services. It provides most importantly, proper nursing facilities and equipment to help residents with their medical health care needs. Furthermore, nursing homes also have trained healthcare assistants to help residents with daily activities such as bathing, eating and administrating medicine. Such elderly care facilities bring value because they not only have skilled healthcare professionals looking after residents with more serious health conditions, it can also be an avenue to relieve your family of caregiver burnout. In the interview with Danny when the CNA insider interviewer asked him about his thoughts on putting his mother in a dementia day care centre, he replied that he was “apprehensive”, but at the same time, “relieved, because he could go home and sleep peacefully”. Aside from caregiving, nursing homes also position themselves as a social environment where many senior citizens can find social support and network when they may feel isolated or depressed.
Making the decision of whether or not to put your parents in a nursing home, really depends on the person himself/herself. As needs differ from each individual, the important question should be: what type of care do our loved one need most? Are nursing homes really the better alternative to personally taking care of your loved ones? Do the elderly really feel more support being in a community of others “in the same situation”? Or do they feel more supported in the presence of a familiar family member and in the comfort of their own homes?
The difficulty in weighing the pros and cons of a nursing home, and choosing to care for our parents ourselves at home is precisely what we struggle with. In making this decision, it often involves a feeling of guilt on the caregiver’s side.
“I think I just don’t like the idea of dumping her here and go gallivanting away, you know? Maybe it’s the guilt thing eating me.” -Danny.
Caregiver’s Guilt arises because of role reversal as the child becomes the caregiver instead. Our parents cared for us when we were young, so it should be only natural for us to do the same when they are old and frail. Yet, sharing the caregiver burden with alternative options like nursing homes and day care centres now becomes common, contributing to caregiver’s guilt.
If you find yourself in this position, first, you would have to acknowledge that you have Caregiver’s Guilt, and then make a conscious decision to stop worrying about it.
“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie
The best way would be to access your parent’s medical and emotional needs carefully. Think about what would make them feel more comfortable, and develop a care plan that you are able to handle as well.
Here are some solutions which you may find useful in helping you make a more informed choice when deciding the best care plan for your loved ones.
The biggest problem is that there is a lack of in-between services, from the extreme ends of caring for your parents at home and sending them to a nursing home. Which is why the advent of in-home healthcare services in Singapore is a great alternative to consider. In home care services provide the best of both worlds by bridging the distance gap between a nursing home, and caring for your parents at home. By providing home instead of senior care, on-demand home care platforms like Jaga-Me connect families with experienced local nurses and trained caregivers to deliver safe and dependable home care whenever needed. There is a range of home care services provided as well, such as clinical procedures, care management, medical escort services and the Jaga Store to fulfill your differing needs. Hence, if you are looking to help your elderly parents age in place at home while still getting the professional elder care services you need, elderly home care are the services you need.
Another suggestion is to research on various nursing homes. Go down for site visits and find one that is reliable and provides quality services. Trustworthy nursing homes can give you a piece of mind as you know that your parents would be well taken care of. Even when you parents are in a home, they still need you as their primary caregiver. They will need you to adjust them into the living facility, to help them put up little reminders of home in their rooms, and to help them settle in and make friends. You can do your best to provide a comfortable experience for your parents too.
“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.”