Monday, February 7, 2011

Making the Decision to Send Dad to the Nursing Home

A Gentle Hand prints in two different sizes now available here.

Last week we put Dad in the nursing home. It was a difficult choice but one long over due. Lots of people I know are dealing with this very issue as our parents age.

Dad has been in poor health now for 6 or 7 years. My step brother and I moved in about the same time to care for our parents and my grandmother as well.

It has been difficult. For a long time now I have thought it was a mistake to keep him at home. He was isolated and unhappy. He considered us his jailers mainly because we kept him from driving. He even went as far as secretly getting a lawyer to try to escape.

My step mother is his guardian so my attempts to change the situation in the past met with failure. This time however was different. Part of the change was due to her heart attack in the fall and other health issues she faced last year. The rest of it was Dad’s mini strokes and lessening mobility.

My step brother and I made a plan to force the issue. We spoke to the rest of the family and made sure we had their support. We did. My sis joined us as we did what we called “our intervention”. She saw we were not going to take no for an answer and her son’s threat to move out was probably not even necessary.

It seemed I would have been OK with this choice and I anticipated the feeling of a weight lifting off me but that is not what happened. I just got a pit of sadness in my gut. It freaked me out and made me doubt my decision. I took Tonka out on the river trail and we took a nice long hike to clear my head. When I returned I looked at my feelings and decided it was grief. Once recognized it passed quickly.

Dad said he felt like we had dropped him off at the pound the first day, but that has also passed quickly. Most of the patients and employees are women so he is in his element. He seems very happy now and he is getting 24 hour skilled nursing that he needs.

The stress level here has dropped considerably. He being just a few miles away makes it possible for us to see him at least once a day and take his dog to see him too.

See that wasn’t so hard…..

( Yes it was.)


  1. I am so sorry you had to go through that Diana. I can only imagine, but I bet in time, both you and your Dad will see it couldn't have ended up being a better arrangement.

  2. Diana,

    This took a lot of courage--on everyone's part. It sounds as though your decision will have long-lasting benefits.

  3. my parents have given me and my sisters the best gift... they've already made plans for a nursing home facility if/when that day ever came... they had the conviction/courage to do this so we 'sisters' wouldn't grieve over such a decision.

    know you made the right decision for him and your family. :) Laurie

  4. Je sais que cela a du être très difficile pour vous. Cela le fut pour mon petit père. Son état se dégradait et son maintien à domicile n'était plus possible. Je crois qu'au début nous en souffrions tous les deux mais par la suite je suis certaine que moi seule endurait péniblement la situation. Depuis cette maladie d'Alzheimer l'a emporté et aujourd'hui je sais que ce fut la meilleure décision pour lui qu'il soit pris en charge par le corps médical.
    Gros bisous à vous et courage, votre art va vous aider... continuez à nous étonner avec...

  5. We faced the same decision with my dad many years ago. Sadly, he was in the final stages of Alzheimer's so it's unclear how much of it he really understood. Even though it was necessary for his health and safety, it was still a heartbreaking decision for all of us. I know what you're all going through, Diana. ((hugs))

  6. Diana: Such a difficult situation...we encountered this with my grandmother, who raised me and my sister. It was so tough to take her vehicle away...her freedom. Then later, the decision to put her in a boarding home, then nursing home. She was angry at us for all three but the doctor had convinced us it was best for all concerned. We took her personal things like her recliner, her favorite foods, t.v., little c/d player for music. Also had a phone put in her room without long distance. That way she could call us if she needed something including if her requests for help were not answered. All though it was tough...and such a big change for all of us...she did have company, activities, and three meals a day provided. We never stopped loving her and she quickly got over her anger at us. Keep would not have made this choice if you did not know it was best for all your family. Robin in Texas

  7. Thanks everyone for sharing and your kind words.
    Laurie it sounds like your parents have it going on. Having advanced care directives and a plan for aging sure makes it easier for families.

    (I left a comment earlier. Don't you hate it when comments on your own blog do not show up.)