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How to talk to an elderly parent about moving into a nursing home

There may come a time when you realize that an elderly parent is best off living in a nursing home. Maybe you come to this conclusion because they've had a few accidents around home. Or maybe their doctor has expressed concerns about them living alone.

There's a lot to consider when moving an elderly parent into a nursing home, but it all starts with a conversation. During this initial conversation, it's important to discuss the finer details of nursing home care, with the goal of making your parent as comfortable as possible with the process.

Here are five steps you can follow:

  • Focus on the benefits: It's easy for your parent to focus on the drawbacks of living in a nursing home, such as that they'll no longer be living independently. However, you need to talk about the benefits, such as the opportunity to live alongside other people their age and easy access to a variety of activities.
  • Get help: You don't have to keep the conversation private. For example, if you have siblings, ask them to join you as you have this important conversation. It often helps to ease the tension.
  • Tour a variety of nursing homes: Don't choose the first nursing home you come across, but instead take your parent to several facilities to give them an idea of what's available at each one. When you include them in the search process, they're more likely to feel better about the final decision.
  • Talk about finances: This detail has the potential to complicate matters, but it's critical to have a clear understanding of how your parent will pay for nursing home care. From private funds to Medicaid to long-term care insurance, there are many options to consider.
  • Have a plan: Don't dive into this conversation without an idea of what you want to say. Take some notes regarding the approach you want to take, how you can ease the tension and some of the better ways to get your parent on board with the idea.

As you talk to your elderly parent about moving into a nursing home, turn some of your attention to related details, such as how to qualify for Medicaid and the impact of this decision on their estate plan.

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