How to Decide When to Live in a Nursing Home


Get a physical and mental exam from a doctor. Your personal physician or a doctor who specializes in gerontology can give seniors assessments to determine their physical capabilities in managing daily living tasks by themselves as well as their mental status and abilities. He provides an independent, factual perspective into a senior's well-being that is often needed since family members can be emotional.


Explore your options. As the number of elderly and senior citizens increases, more and more services and options are becoming available. For example, seniors with good mental abilities can often remain in their homes if they are able to perform some daily living tasks by simply getting assistance from home health aides, meals on wheels and other community resources to perform the daily tasks they can't do for themselves. In addition, seniors have the option to move in to assisted living or in with families rather than move to a nursing home.


Consult family members. Making the decision to live in a nursing home should involve all members of a family. Often one child makes the decision to put his parent in a nursing home, and this leads to resentment on the part of the other children. By talking it through with all family members, different options can be explored and everyone can come to a consensus about what is best.


Hire a senior care manager. Families struggling with making the decision do have the option to hire a care manager to assist them. A person in this position works with the family to assess the senior's abilities to live independently, with assistance in a supported living environment or dependently in a nursing home. If a senior decides to remain in his home the care manager can arrange any services or resources he needs in order to manage his daily tasks and stay in his home. In addition, the care manager can continually reassess the senior over weeks, months and even years to determine if he is still independent or has physical and mental deterioration that requires placement in a nursing home.

Tips and Warnings

  • If their mental status is good, seniors should be heavily involved in making the decision about moving to a nursing home. There are support groups in most communities across the United States for children who've assumed the responsibility for caring for their parents as they age.
  • Determining when to move into a nursing home can be a difficult decision, and it's something that many seniors and their families struggle with. Most people want to maintain their independence as long as possible, but their safety can't be compromised. Family members as well as the senior often have differing opinions on what should be done making it even more of a challenge. Following these steps can help in determining how to decide when to live in a nursing home.