What to Do When One Parent Needs a Nursing Home but the Other Doesn’t


Having a parent move to a nursing home is always difficult. However, if one parent needs extra care while the other doesn’t, the situation is even more complex. If you’re struggling with figuring out what to do, here are some tips from Pontiac Care and Rehabilitation Center that can help.

  • Finding the Right Nursing Home
    There are approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Before you choose one for a parent, you need to review your options carefully to find the best facility for the situation. For example, if your parents are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may need a facility that specializes in memory care.

    It’s also wise to take a close look at staffing ratios as you check out facilities. While federal law requires all facilities to have enough employees to provide adequate care and states may mandate minimum staffing requirements, you need to consider if meeting the minimum only feels sufficient based on your parent’s needs.

  • But that only scratches the surface of what to explore when choosing a nursing home. You also want to research:

    • The total cost of care
    • Insurance options (including Medicare)
    • Contract details
    • Available amenities
    • Visitation rules for spouses, children, other family members, and friends
    • Staff-patient interaction quality
    • Whether the residents appear comfortable and happy

    All of those points matter, so make sure to cover them when researching facilities.

  • Paying for Long-Term Care
    Nursing homes can be quite expensive. It’s common for families to struggle with finding ways to pay, especially if the parent needs comprehensive or specialized care.

    One of the first things you need to check is their insurance coverage. While that may not cover the full cost, it can serve as a viable foundation.
    After that, it’s wise to expand into other possible programs. For example, veterans may be eligible for an Aid and Attendance benefit that could handle some of the expenses.

    Using any available savings or retirement benefits can be wise, especially if they have an account worth more than they will likely need based on their remaining lifespan. If there are whole-life insurance policies with any cash value, tapping those may be a wise move.
    In some cases, the best bet is for your parents to sell their current home to cover the cost of care. Find out how much they owe the house and calculate the available equity by subtracting what they owe from the current market value.

  • Helping Your Other Parent Adjust
    Once one parent moves into a nursing home, the other is going to need help adjusting to life without their partner. Not only is the experience emotionally traumatic, but the other parent may be living alone for the first time in decades. Managing a house alone isn’t always easy, even if their health is at the best condition.

    After the first parent moves, discuss options with your other parent. For example, they may want to downsize, automate bill payments, set up recurring food deliveries, or take additional steps to reduce the strain.
    Additionally, creating a social calendar could be wise. This can include visits with their spouse, as well as other activities that can help them stay positive and active.

  • Staying Compassionate During the Process
    Throughout the process, it’s crucial to remain compassionate. Both of your parents are undergoing a major life transition, one that comes with heartache, anxiety, and fear about their future. Whenever you interact with them, focus on kindness and understanding. Place yourself in their shoes, and realize how hard this likely is for them.
    Through compassion and empathy, you can stay centered and understanding. That way, a tough situation can be handled with efficiency and effectiveness. Let Pontiac Care and Rehabilitation Center help you in this process. Learn more here.

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