How often should I visit mom when she first moves into the nursing home?

22 Comments

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.

Carol Bradley Bursack

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Over the span of two decades, author, columnist, consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. Her experiences inspired her to pen, "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," a portable support group book for caregivers.

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22 Comments

Thank you, I don't feel I have expressed myself accurately.
I visit every day, my wife has advanced vascular dementia, today when I rang as normal, before I visit to see how things are, the staff said that Dora was having a really bad day,I asked should I come in and they said it was probably not going to help.
I spent three hours on Christmas Day having lunch with her and also visited on Boxing Day, I will also go tomorrow.
There is no way I would cut down to three visits a week but would like a bit of time for myself.
By the way I live in Norfolk, UK., just that this forum came up when I Googled and it seemed very helpful.
Thank you C Willie,
I'm just back from seeing my wife and she was wonderful today, the sun was shining and I have noticed a relationship between weather and behaviour over the last few years.
I 'm now preparing for a party for ally friends who support me in various ways through the year,about thirty of them!
I like this article. I agree.

Even when my mom first started respite, I was there every day. When she was alright, and used to the routine and I knew she was alright emotionally about it all and seemed calm, I started taking me days. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of bonehead would suggest that you just drop your elderly parent off and...POOF! You're gone... I can imagine feeling very anxious and afraid if that happened to me, especially if I was declining, but knew what was going on on some level...