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“Have Mom Live with Me or Move Her to a Nursing Home?”

nursing homeIs this the debate that’s raging in your head?

I’m not surprised.  And rest assured — you’ve got company. Time for some elder care advice on the subject.

I often receive questions through this site from adult children who are standing at this particular crossroads.

The decision of where mom or dad should live is bearing down on their shoulders and they’re tired (exhausted, really) from the journey to now.

No matter who gets in touch or what his/her particular story is, at their core the questions around moving mom or dad out of their home are all almost universally the same and they’re this:

How can I tell what’s best for my mom/dad? and how can I make sure that doing right by them doesn’t kill me?

Does this resonate with you? If so I want you to fix your eyes on the next line as if doing so will make my voice come out of your computer to tell you the following very important message……..


No, really.  This is the nitty-gritty of what it means to care for an aging parent.  It’s quite possible that no other point along the caregiving journey will challenge you and make you question who you are and what you’re capable of than this one.

And did I mention guilt? 

Oh, yeah.  This is the decision that causes guilt to creep in BIG time.  Many of you will feel guilty for even thinking that you might not be able to care for mom or dad in their own home or in yours.  Others of you will beat yourselves up but good for not being able to manage longer.

If this is you, please, please stop.  Then find a quiet place and a few moments sometime in the next several days to consider my advice below on how to move forward….

Maria’s elder care advice:

Understand that the decision about where mom or dad should live isn’t all yours – it’s your parent’s decision too assuming that he/she is capable of making this kind of decision (i.e. that mom/dad doesn’t have middle or late stage dementia).  If you stop and think about it, this little tidbit might just take some of the pressure off because you don’t have to have all the answers.  And because deciding for them and forcing your will on them won’t work.  At least not for long…

Take a close look at what’s working well in your particular situation and consider ways to enhance it.  So your mom likes the cleaning lady who comes in two days a week to do her laundry?  Great!  Can she afford to have her come more often? Awesome.  Would both your mom and the lady be open to that?  This is definitely something you want to explore. 

Familiarize yourself with the help that’s out there. By now you probably know that adults over the age of 65 are one of the fastest growing segments of the population.  This means that there are lots of community-based services, not-for-profits and private companies offering an array of services. Depending upon where your aging parent lives there may be a number of ways to provide assistance without the need for mom/dad to leave their home.  A good place to start is Elder Care Locator a service provide by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ask for feedback.  If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that there are many people on the caregiving journey with you.  Ask your colleagues at work, ask your neighbors, ask your friends whom you’ve reconnected with on Facebook — ask anyone your age about the services they have looked into and I can all but guarantee that you’ll find a wealth of information to guide you.  And if the mood strikes you, ask me!

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