13 Important Steps Before Moving Your Parent To a Nursing Home

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Deciding to move your loved one into a nursing home is never easy, but here are 13 things you can do to make the transition smoother. Let’s take a look at them below.

Have a Family Discussion

Involve all siblings in the initial talk about your parent’s care, no matter their location. As the organizer, clarify your ability to contribute. If you’re already caring for your parent, express the challenges and the need for support. 

Aim to resolve disagreements early, leveraging family unity for a smoother transition and possibly uncovering unexpected solutions.

Address Parental Resistance

If your parents resist changing their care setup, find a calm moment to share your observations and concerns. Document their worries and preferences. 

When dialogue stalls, consider a professional mediator to facilitate a balanced discussion, giving everyone a chance to be heard in a constructive setting.

Find the Best Nursing Home

Finding the perfect nursing home can be a challenging task, but by opting for a facility that provides the essential care or a range of care services, you could spare yourself the trouble of relocating your parent if their health needs evolve. 

Carefully do your research, bearing in mind that your parents’ safety, happiness, and well-being are invaluable.

Seek Professional Advice

Gather information from a wide range of sources and talk to people with direct experience in assisted living. 

Reading reviews, understanding state regulations, and consulting with attorneys can provide insights into the best options, ensuring a comprehensive approach to choosing the right facility.

Check Financial Aid for Care

It might surprise you, but your parent could be eligible for financial aid for their nursing home expenses. Such benefits can significantly offset the hefty costs, which average around $7,000 a month in Central Illinois. 

Before ruling out the possibility of additional aid, it’s wise to consult an elder law expert. Many families miss out because they assume it’s too late, but it’s never too late to explore your options.

Know What You’re Signing

Entering a parent into a nursing home often comes with a mountain of paperwork. It’s crucial to understand what you’re signing. If questions arise, seek an elder law attorney’s advice. 

Rushing through and signing without fully understanding the terms can make you personally liable for the nursing home bills, especially if you sign as the “responsible party.”

Get Legal Affairs in Order

Ensure your parent has all the necessary legal documents in order before moving into a nursing home. This includes a Last Will & Testament and possibly other estate planning tools like trusts and end-of-life plans, such as a POLST.

Know Who Are the Decision Makers

After your parent settles into a nursing home, it’s crucial they’ve legally assigned someone to make decisions on their behalf should they become unable to. This involves setting up two types of power of attorney: one for health care decisions and another for financial matters.

Prevent Financial Abuse

If your parent is moving into a nursing home, chances are they won’t need to use credit. To prevent the risk of financial elder abuse, it’s a good idea to freeze their credit. 

This is a simple precaution to keep their finances secure.

Explore Assisted Living Benefits

Assisted living provides more support than many realize, yet it’s less intensive than memory care or nursing homes. 

Evaluate your parents’ needs against what these facilities offer. Research and consult a senior living advisor to understand the benefits fully and find a match for your parents’ requirements.

Visit Senior Living Communities

Visit at least three senior living communities to get a real feel for them, beyond just brochures and reviews. 

Consider timing tours around meals to observe the community atmosphere. Use a checklist for easy comparison, ensuring a thorough evaluation for the best decision.

Don’t Bring Valuables to the Facility

While your parents might feel more comfortable keeping their valuables with them in the nursing home, it’s safer to leave such items at home. 

Valuables tend to get lost easily in long-term care environments.

Prepare for the Transition 

Discuss the transition without delay to prevent second-guessing. Assist your parents in downsizing and organizing their belongings for the move. 

Employing senior move managers can ease the process, ensuring that legal, medical, and financial documents are secure. Compassion and family involvement are key in navigating this significant change smoothly.

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