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The Pros and Cons of Placing Your Loved One in a Facility

Author’s Note: This post assumes there is a decent, affordable facility within a reasonable driving distance. It also assumes that the person with Alzheimer’s is in the mid- late-stages of the disease, and high quality caregiving at home is becoming increasingly more challenging if not impossible.

CONS

People living with Alzheimer’s typically want to remain in their own homes. They want to be in a familiar environment and close to their loved ones.

Family members are sometimes adamantly opposed to placing their loved one in a facility. Some view this almost as a criminal act. In many cases it’s even more difficult because if the person with Alzheimer’s staunchly objects, family member(s) may feel incredibly guilty.

In addition, the caregiver may have promised his or her loved one many years before to never put them in any kind of facility for any reason. Breaking that promise would be extraordinarily difficult. Again, if the caregiver decides to go ahead with placement he or she would probably end up riddled with guilt.

Caregivers may feel they can provide care that is superior to that delivered in a good facility, due to their love and devotion. Although personnel in a facility may indeed care about their residents, they will probably not have the depth of love that family members feel.

Finally, financial issues need to considered. There may be high quality facilities near you but you can’t afford them. In this case you may have no other option than caring for the person at home.

PROS

It takes a large team to care for people living with Alzheimer’s, especially those in the mid to later stages.  They need a doctor on call 24 hours a day. They need a nurse available at all times. They need aides, a social worker, activity professionals, cooks and laundresses.  And they need to be around other people for social stimulation. They need 24/7 supervision and they need to be in a safe, secure environment.

Providing for all of these needs can be done but it’s a full-time job. In many cases the primary caregiver has to work either full- or part-time and thus can’t provide the needed care.

The decision to place a loved one in a care facility can be agonizing, but caregivers need to consider the following: 1) Long-term care placement can be the most loving choice for their loved one and 2) Caring for the loved one is probably seriously affecting their own physical and mental health and wellbeing.  People simply can’t be good caregivers if they are exhausted and burned out all the time.

You may be hesitant because you think the person will never forgive you for placing them in a facility. Most people with mid- late stage Alzheimer’s, however, soon adjust and even forget they’ve been moved at all.

Deciding what to do can be nerve-wracking and heartbreaking, but it’s something you will probably need to do at some point. Take a step back and try to be objective. Consult with friends and other family members.  You may also want to talk with your attorney, spiritual leader and/or your physician and your loved one’s physician (if they are not the same).

Do any of you want to comment on how you arrived at your decision regarding this issue?

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5 Responses to “The Pros and Cons of Placing Your Loved One in a Facility”

  1. Judy says:

    I don’t know where to begin. My husband and are taking his mom back to her home in Florida on Friday. She had stayed six weeks in Virginia at her home there. This gave her daughter in FL a break because she is completely burnt out and hurt. We have found a caregiver for my MIL but my sister in law is convinced it will not work out and wants her to go into assisted living now. Howver, neither child has the power of attorney because their mother wouldn’t make a new will or give it to them.

    My stomach hurts. I dread trying to get her into the car on Friday. I dread her reaction to a new caregiver even though it has been a miracle to fine someone who is willing to even try. I know that a facility will be our only option at some point. It makes me feel guilty. I am thankful that we one more chance to keep her in her own house.

    Thank you for the article, and say a prayer for all of us as we find our way down this path. I appreciate any insights you might have.

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  2. Lauren from Dallas says:

    I recently brought my mother her to live after getting Durable POA because my brother had been stealing her money. He is in a rehab facility for addiction and he was supportive of her coming here. She is attending an adult daycare facility that specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. At night she comes home with us. I thought I would put her in a facility but the people at the center don’t think she’s able to do assisted living, yet she is not bad enough for skilled nursing.

    She is enjoying being at the daycare but in the evenings she always talks about going home. I usually change the subject. I am planning h on selling her home to help with expenses. It breaks my heart that she cannot live at home anymore but even more that she doesn’t understand that she’s never going back. What is the best way to handle this? Do I continue to just change the subject?

    Any advice is helpful,

    Lauren Bristow

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  3. Roxanne Lewis from Canton, TX says:

    My mother became ill and my dad looked at me and said I can’t do this and walked away. I have to work and I had always promised my mom I would never put her in a nursing home. I never expected her to get Alzheimer’s.

    I spoke to the doctor about keeping her at home and me still having to work. He told me about a really large family that tried keeping a family member with Alzheimer’s home. He said even though there was many of them it took its toll. Your sleeping they are up. Your up and they are sleeping.

    I never felt so guilty but what made it easier for me is that I visited her often, made sure to be involved in her care, stayed a part of her life.

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  4. Thank you for pointing out that long-term care can be the most loving care for your loved one. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and we are wanting to put her in a home so she can get the best care possible. I’ll have to look into different facilities in the area and find the best one for her.

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  5. I really like what you said about considering different truths about the situation of placing a loved one in an Alzheimer’s care facility. My grandpa is getting on in years and suffers from Alzheimer’s as well, so the family is trying to do what we can to help care for him. Since we might need to look at a facility for him, I appreciate what you said about how long-term care placement can be the most loving choice for the loved one and how people can’t be good caregivers if they are exhausted and burned out all the time.

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