Should my elderly parents move back OUT of the Nursing Home?

It worked in our family!

Grandpa was 94 years old and had fallen in his house and had spent the night on the floor before a neighbor found him.  He begrudgingly agreed that he had to go to a retirement home.  And once there….the always positive, cheerful, chatty man….became frustrated, sullen,  uncommunicative and unhappy.  When we would take him back to the retirement home after a visit with the family….he would say “Are you taking me back to that prison?”

Oh how we hated to hear that.  How we hated to leave him there.  He truly became unhappy.

He was beyond being able to live on his own.  BUT, we found a GREAT solution.  One of his grand-daughters was a stay at  home mom and their family had a home that had a main floor bedroom with a bathroom next to it.   Her husband was agreeable and flexible and she was looking for a job.    Grandpa moved in and the family paid her instead of the retirement home!

What an amazing change of heart and attitude.  Grandpa LOVED being in a home with young children.  It was a win win!

Sometimes we make decisions that “seem” like they are final….BUT….don’t be locked into your decisions.

Think creatively and outside the box!    In our case, Grandpa couldn’t live on his own…..but many seniors can!

Here are some questions that should be considered to determine whether the senior should live on their own.

When nursing home or retirement home residents consider living back on their own, experts suggest that you ask these questions:

1. Do you want to live independently? You will have to be motivated enough to deal with and  overcome frustration and inconvenience.

2. Are you really able to live on your own? Even people with limited mobility can often manage — though sometimes adjustments must  be made.  (For example….might you need to lock the basement door and take the key?  Might you need to do the laundry for the person?  )  Another potentially wonderful solution may be to have a college aged grandchild  or person from church move in with grandma!  Free housing in exchange for companion ship might be just the right solution for a grandchild or nursing student.

3. Can you afford to live independently?  How will independent living affect your income and financial assistance?  There is probably a social worker who can help you explore the financial options.

4. Is in-home care available?   Check out the services avialable in your community.  Together, a doctor and a transition coordinator can help compile a list of needed services.

5. Is appropriate housing available?  Maybe you will need to find a condo situation instead of a stand alone house.  Requirements will vary according to the health and mobility of the person.  Consider access, safety features, security, and kitchen and dining facilities.

6. Does the home have everything you need? One essential service is the “home alert” calling service!  This is a life saver.  Having a button that can be pressed in case of emergency can be the difference between security and fear!  Don forget a telephone, emergency contacts, kitchen equipment and personal care items.

7. Does the community offer necessary medical services and transportation to these places?   It’s crucial to identify and perhaps contact in advance doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and emergency clinics in the community.

8. Do you have the necessary skills?  How will shopping, showering or bathing, preparing meals, budgeting and paying bills be taken care of?  Who can help?

9. Is transportation available? Many areas have senior transportation programs.  Contact your senior service center to find out the options.

10. Is social support available? Living alone and being alone can be unhealthy.  Make sure you find good options include senior housing activities, religious programs, senior day-care and family visits.