Seniors Bulletin / The Bulletin / Medical Alert Systems / Can I force my elderly parent into a nursing home?

Can I force my elderly parent into a nursing home?


  Winnie Thomas

Can I force my elderly parent into a nursing home?

Most adults are generally very independent. As people age, however, their ability to live independently gradually decreases and they may need to request help from people to carry out daily tasks they were previously able to carry out independently. More often than not, the families or close friends (in cases where the person has no family) of such older adults become the major provider of senior care in various capacities.

Family Home Care

Provision of care assistance for seniors by family members could sometimes be as simple as providing transportation or arranging for some assistance with shopping or even routine housekeeping duties.

In other circumstances, though, family members are forced to shoulder a significant amount of responsibility related to health difficulties that to some extent limit the ability of loved ones to function effectively. These obligations and responsibilities become more important as older adults increase in age, especially seniors in their 80s, 90s, and beyond.

It could be sometimes difficult to observe the transition of older adults, especially a loved one from a lifestyle of near total independence to one of almost total dependency.

However, it tends to be harder on the seniors. It’s a rather unfamiliar terrain from what they are used to and it may be difficult for them to admit that they need help doing things they used to be able to do on their own. They have to deal with the unfamiliar feeling of weakness alongside health conditions that arise because of aging. This increase in the number of changes in what usually seems to be a short space of time in most cases is the root cause of seniors tending to hold on stubbornly to the familiar things left in their lives, refusing advice on care options offered by family and friends such as moving them to an assisted living facility.

Problems Faced By Family Members As Caregivers

Family members acting as caregivers for a senior in the family usually involves everyone helping out to one extent or the other. They are, however, faced with a myriad of challenges. Uncertainty about the care position they must assume; pain from seeing the changes in the family member they are caring; feelings of impotence due to wanting yet not being able to do more or provide greater care; or remorse for not providing appropriate service.

The family caregivers also now have to deal daily with things they did not have to before. As a result, various areas of their lives are affected such as personal health, their ability to maintain other relationships, and even their finances. The caregiver usually has very limited choices however and so the damage to the other aspects of the caregiver’s life tends to continue.

Another problem faced by the caregiver is the fact that he/she also has other obligations aside from providing care for a loved one. Obligations or necessary activities such as having to go to work or even something as basic as having to quickly make a trip to a nearby supermarket to purchase needed items like food become complicated upon the realization that the highly dependent elderly loved one would have to be left alone for a duration of time during which any number of challenges could develop. This would constitute elderly abandonment and if this is detected by a social worker, it would result in serious problems for the caregiver.

One major problem and probably the most serious issue with home care has to do with the management of accompanying health issues that arise due to aging while simultaneously maintaining the quality of life. The caregiver isn’t equipped with the needed knowledge to make sound decisions concerning most issues relating to the health of their loved ones. Disease conditions that are age-related such as Alzheimer’s disease require specialized geriatric care offered by assisted living facilities.

Another significant problem is the issue of cost. According to Genworth’s financial experts, ” The median cost for a full-time home health care aide is $4,576 per month”. Also, according to the most recent statistics from the American Administration on Aging, “the cost of home care averages $20 an hour. The annual cost of which can run as high as $170,000 a year, far exceeding most caregivers’ budgets”.

Solutions?

As a result of the aforementioned problems with home care, family members have opted for several different options from enrollment of the seniors in an adult day care where they have to pick them up at the end of the day to the registration of their loved ones in assisted living facilities offering senior care.

Assisted Living Facilities

An assisted living facility is staffed with several care managers that offer individualized health and personal elder care in a homelike setting while simultaneously focusing on encouraging feelings of personal dignity in each senior. Large apartment-style settings or private dwellings can be used in the establishment of an assisted living facility.

A nursing home is a long-term care facility that offers residential care for seniors or disabled people. Seniors who do not require hospitalization but cannot be cared for at home due to complicated health issues or medical needs enroll at nursing homes. The nursing homes carry out diagnosis or treatment as occasion requires and have in their employ nurses and nursing aides that are primarily responsible for meeting the medical needs of enrolled seniors.

Members of families or friends that enroll their family member, aging parents, or loved one in an assisted living facility have fewer things to worry about because there is assurance that the caregivers of the assisted living facility can help maintain quality senior living of aging parents.

The decision of members of a family to leave the care of elderly parents in the hands of caregivers in an assisted living facility when they feel like they can no longer fill the role of caregivers comes with its own challenges chief of which stem from the elderly parents themselves. Some parents feel like their family members are only interested in shipping them off and then abandoning them (this is also a form of elderly abandonment). Other parents want to live in a familiar environment and so they resist every attempt to move them to an assisted care facility.

This refusal of an elderly parent to accept care services provided by caregivers in an assisted medical facility even when they know it is what’s best for them is common and very frustrating to those on the receiving end. As a result family and friends concerned for their loved one have to resort to trying to persuade them to move or exploring other options to force them to move.

How To Convince A Loved One To Move

It should be said that before seeking legal means of forcibly moving your parents to an assisted living facility, you should try convincing them first to preserve the relationship. Below are some suggestions you could follow to achieve this:

  1. Have a family meeting without them first to discuss and make sure everyone is on board with the idea before mentioning it to your parents. It is important to present a united front when you finally decide to mention it to them.
  2. Be patient with them. Don’t expect immediate results when you mention your suggestion to them. Mary Stehle, an expert in senior care mentioned that patience is key in dealing with older adults. Listen to whatever they have to say to show them that you really care about their misgivings and you just want the best for them.
  3. In situations where they refuse, ask them to proffer a solution to the problem of ensuring they are well cared for. Let them feel like they have a say in whatever decision is to be made concerning them.
  4. Tell and show them the benefits of assisted living. A lot of people have the wrong idea about nursing homes and conditions in an assisted living facility. Reassure them that they are not giving up their independence and show them how the various benefits of assisted living will help improve their quality of life. You can organize visits to such facilities and nursing homes and have them see for themselves. You could also encourage them to interact with other people there.

All in all, the key to convincing parents is showing them that your suggestions were made out of love and genuine concern for them and not out of a desire to be rid of them.

How To Put Someone In A Nursing Home Against Their Will

There are cases where whatever you say or do fails to convince seniors that they would be better cared for in an assisted living facility. In such cases, the only option left is to forcefully move them.

Generally speaking, it is illegal to forcefully move people against their will. There are however certain conditions in which this is legally permissible. If you are able to obtain guardianship status over your loved one, it is legally permissible to take such decisions on their behalf.

Conservatorships and Guardianships are handled by special courts known as probate courts and are designed to give individuals decision-making authority on behalf of people who are unable to make financial or medical decisions for themselves owing to incapacity. The probate court must determine incapacity based on the evidence provided by the applicant requesting conservatorship or guardianship.

To find out more about Conservatorships and Guardianships in Canada visit:  

https://capc-acrp.ca/en/what-is-conservation/selecting-a-conservator
https://www.ontario.ca/page/guardianship