I have noticed so many people here (myself included!) that have caregiver burnout and don't want to put our loved ones in a NH...

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So, even though SOME of us (myself included) are burned out/frustrated/unhappy/overwhelmed with stress and anxiety due to caregiving, many of us still INSIST despite all of our misery and frustration that we are NOT SENDING OUR LOVED ONE TO A NH. NOT HAPPENING. NO WAY.

So here's the question: Are we really doing the right thing? Is the right thing to suffer so our loved ones don't go to a nursing home?

I am grappling with this dilemma myself and just wanted to see what other's insight on this was!!

23 Comments

Great question. All I know is that my friends and close family thinks it's too hard on me, healthwise. She has nursing home insurance so it isn't a money issue, it's just I see how she still has her independance. She is up and down in the fridge all times at night. I did a respite care this past June and they said she would go down to the dining room/kitchenette wanting food. So they would get her something. She likes to have her own say. I hate to take that away from her. She can roam around the house, pet the dog. Has a nice room with beautiful view. If something ever happened to her where she no longer knew me I would definately do a NH. Because I couldn't take that.
I don't know what the answer is anymore than you do. I feel like keeping our dad at home and not sending him to a nh is affecting so many other lives that it is not even funny. I have a little boy and a husband. My sister has a husband that she rarely sees or gets to spend the night with. And i know it has affected our lives. Dad is not bad enough to send to a nh. But he is not well enough to stay by his self. So we are stuck!!!!!
36 helpful answers
When the challenges of keeping someone at home become too difficult and you and your family are sacrificing your lives; moving someone to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility is something that should not be off the table. When health issues become more than the family can take, alternate living options are often the best thing for the person needing care. There are wonderful facilities and there are terrible ones. Do your due diligence and explore your options. You are not abandoning your loved one. You will most certainly come to visit, but you will also have peace of mind that your loved one is being well cared for. You are not a bad person because you want to have a life. Depending upon the situation, sometimes alternative living is in everyone's best interest. Often your loved one will make new friends and have social activities that you haven't thought about. The elderly become demanding when they lose their friends and feel isolated. It's one of the bonuses of finding a really good care facility.
You will know the point where you have to make the decision-I kept waiting for others to tell me what I knew was true for my husband but him going on medicaide would affect me financially-with a parent or other elder relative they are responsible to pay down to get on medicaide. I would suggest you go to visit the nursing homes near you and take a tour and find out as much as you can-it is best to find one near where you live so you can pop in often. Ckeck out their meals their PT their activities-look at the rooms and talk to whoever does the tour-then go on to the next one-if you have not been in a NH for a time you might be surprised how nice most are-they do get inspections and most are clean and the staff is well trained and you can always change to another-our local one is really nice I could live there. If having the person at home is really affecting your life and you feel like a prsioner it is time and if they are treating you badly it is time-my lawyer told me that 60% of caregivers die before the one they are caring for-I did not want to go from being treated badly to dieing so that got me thinking and my therapist said no on was going to rescue me I had to do that myself. If you life stinks you have to make the move. Good luck and keep us posted your experiences will help other-and there are so many people who share your burden and they always are happier after they place the person and usually after a short time have a great relationship with that person and you usually can take them out for a ride or to visit.
I have two children that keep me moving on the go while taking care of my husband's needs. I also know a woman who has a made a career of being a caregiver simply cuz she felt she was called for it. I will only do what I must if my husband no longer recognizes me or the kids or becomes abusive physically to the point its not worth the stress. NH home has been brought up many times and he rather be with us and I can see that. I am still young and have a solid head on my shoulder...I just can't stand putting so much distance between my husband and our kids, I will know until then ..I am praying and hanging in there cuz I know he is walking with my family :)
Hi! Read your comments and I feel for all of you. My dad passed away this past Feb 4. My mother and I were the primary caregivers. Each case is unique. Some people can do at home, and some will choose a nursing home. We tried it all and gave it every chance, but in the end we took care of dad at home. We even had to fight for everything we got.---In the end...It was a good thing. He died at home, (in my mothers arms)- every bedsore he got in the hospital and/or nursing home healed with our care at home. He was totally dependent on us for everything. Feeding tube, tracheostomy - and was bed bound. It was hard. The good days, were good, but the hard days would tear your heart out.
My point?
Not everyone can do it. And, if you can't you shouldn't feel guilty. My mother, age 74 is a retired nurse. I am a medical assistant. There were days I didn't know my own name, even though mom and I slept in shifts. The first week home of getting him settled was hell and we wondered if we could do it.
As you get into a routine- if you can call it that- depending on the level of care...it helps and it gets better. The saving grace is that he didn't know how sick he was and was just happy to be home and have us around him. If he knew how sick he was, it would have been harder.
After 3 weeks, I still miss him, his smile and taking care of him. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but the most rewarding. I hope my post made sense.
Do what is right for you, and the person you are caring for. That's all I can say.
To Cindy Laverty- that's the bind. There are really NO good NH's out there, at least, in South FL. It was like sending Dad to a snake pit. He'd get one infection after another. I realize his case was complicated, and he was complete care, but no one wanted him. And it was not a case of bad insurance or money. I just want to make others aware that when it comes time to choose a NH, its daunting. We were given a listing of 200 and were expected to check them out ourselves. A "consultant" would help us- to the tune of 100 dollars/day. forget that. It's not as easy as it sounds, or was not for us. No one wanted him. Rehab, Hospice, No one.
When we reach the point where we are throwing ourselves, our marriages, our children, etc. under the bus in order to keep someone from going to a nursing home, I think such martyrdom is wrong and is often done became of emotional blackmail via fear of making them mad, obligation that we might have promised not to put them in a nursing home long ago when we had no idea what that might mean, and guilt when putting someone who really needs to be in a nursing home is not legally wrong and at least where I live there are good and there are not so good nursing homes.

When we martyr ourselves, we place ourselves at risk of dying or going to the nursing home ourselves before they do.
Cmag is so right a promise made with no knowledge of what is to come is not the right thing for you to keep. Their are good nursing homes out there-the best is the cklosest so you can go in there and check on things and keep the staff on their toes and take care of problems when they start. 60% of caregivers die before the one they are taking care of. If things get bad you will know when caring for them at home is not working-if you are doing it all alone and other family members are just too busy to help that is the time for placement-most will not be any more unhappy in a nursing home-in my case it was the verbal abuse that I learned I did not deserve that got me to the point of placement-especially when he told everyone I did not do much for him.
Honestly, I don't know what is wrong with our country. I have personal knowledge and experience that I have NEVER come across a nursing home that I would trust to have my mom placed. For starters, the pay is low so they attract people to work there who are there for the meager money. Yes, once in a while you come across someone who is caring and there for the right reasons but this is few and far between. Many of the people who work there, and I have visited some 20 in two different states, are not even able to communicate English. They have dialects that are difficult to understand. I had my mother during a transition stage of relocation from one state to another to be logistically near me and I receive a call that she fell out of bed while suffering from dementia. If there are good nursing homes then I know for a fact someone needs a reality check who has this opinion. You can fool yourself all you want. When you visit your loved one you may be impressed but after you leave, watch out. Funding in our country causes nursing homes to have to make do. They can't afford top quality care so you get what you get. Infections are common. Workers act like it is a "pain" for them to care for your loved one. Again, I have a lot of personal exposure to nursing homes and I have never seen one that impressed me. Granted, there are "reasons" such as minimal funding but I can't excuse the bad attitudes and some people acting like they hate their jobs and roll their eyes and don't wear gloves and it goes on an on. Shame on our country. My mother always says please don't put her in a nursing home where people wait to die. I have my mother at home with me. I have caregiver burnout. Regardless, I will deal. Our country focuses on the young. When you are elderly, our country suggests nursing homes. Yes, for the wealthy they never have to deal with this because they can afford top of the line assisted living facilities. Don't I wish I could. Don't many of you. But our country has it all wrong. Actors/sports figures etc get high pay and medical personnel don't. So I am sorry, I don't agree with anyone who says there are great nursing homes out there. What are you basing that on?

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