Q: How often should I visit mom in the nursing home when she first moves in? I heard some facilities limit the number of visits during the first weeks.

A: My opinion is to be with your parent as much as possible while they are making the adjustment to life in the nursing home.

I've heard people say that nursing home staff has said to just let them handle it and come back a few days later. This seems to be a bit like kindergarten teachers saying to leave little Johnny with them for the morning and he'll be fine when you pick him up.

While I guess that works for some people going into nursing homes, the comparison doesn't wash with me. Mom has worried about the old "nursing home nightmare" ever since she started aging. While most - not enough, but most - nursing homes are somewhat improved, and many much improved since the old model in Mom's mind, she still knows she is going there to live and she may feel she's going there to be forgotten until she dies.

No one is coming at noon each day to pick her up. This isn't an exciting adventure that is the beginning of something new and wonderful. An elder goes into a nursing home because of poor health, and most will not get better.

I would be very afraid the elder's worst nightmare of being abandoned would be what is going through a person's mind if the family just drops them off and says, "see you next week." I feel that elders need their families with them as much as possible while they adjust to the many changes that they are going through.

Every person is different. Every family is different. But for me, I wanted to be there daily so that they knew I was their advocate and they weren't being abandoned. Good luck. It's tough.