Do you know how hard it is for family caregivers to decide between a nursing home and living at home for an Alzheimer’s patient?
Of all the decisions family caregivers face, often the decision about a nursing home is one of the hardest.
When Joyce and Jan decided their father needed to go into an Alzheimer’s wing for safety, they worried.
They worried they were making the right decision. They also worried if their parents would agree. Joyce and Jan struggled with the decision, making themselves physically sick with worry.
In the case of Alzheimer’s disease making the move to an Alzheimer’s nursing home is often easier on the one with Alzheimer’s than the caregiver.
Because many Alzheimer’s patients adapt and may even thrive in the new setting. They’re safe, living in the moment.
So they may not even realize where they are is different than their usual home.
So what’s wrong with stress and worry?
Stress and worry are negative emotions. They can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. And long term can lead to chronic stress, which can cause medical problems.
How can you prevent worry from affecting your decisions like nursing home or live in help for an Alzheimer’s patient?
Take a tour of a facility you’re considering. Look at the residents. Do they seem happy and content? Are the hallways and rooms clean and bright?
Is the temperature comfortable? What about the food? Do you smell urine or cleaning solution or other unpleasant odors? How are residents kept safe?
How about visitors? How often can you visit?
Do reference checks, or have a professional help you. Make your decision only after you’re happy you have enough information to make an informed one.
2. Involve everyone in the decision. This is a decision that should whenever possible be made by the entire family.
Often the person with Alzheimer’s can’t fully participate. And sometimes a spouse needs guidance in making the decision. Gentle persuasion is often effective.
When they agree it’s the best option, you eliminate a lot of stress. This sometimes requires time and patience.
3. Find the positive. When you’re making decisions for the welfare of others, you’re making them for the best reasons.
Making a decision, then letting it go can be very positive. Yes, you often can change your mind as situations change. Just making the decision can help take a burden off your shoulders.
And when you’re burdened with worry and fear, you may feel like everything is against you.
In looking at a glass, do you see it as half full or half empty?
It’s not a silly comparison. How you look at a glass can reflect how you see life.
Are you feeling like your glass is half empty…
Have you stopped putting fun into your life?
Struggling with weighty decisions like nursing home or live in for Alzheimer s patient?
Are you an caregiver who’s seeing life now as an optimist or a pessimist?
Ready to see the glass as half full?
Maybe you’re the “serious responsible one”, and someone else in the family is “the fun one”?
That was me. It wasn’t until years later I realized I could be serious, responsible and still have fun – and be fun to be around.
And you know a secret?
Adding fun decreased my caregiver stress!
Some days it helped me get out of bed ready to face the day.
Think you’ve forgotten how to enjoy life?
It’s not too late! Yes, you can find out how adding fun makes life better.
Adding fun is – well – FUN!
It doesn’t require medication or complicated instructions.
What are some ways to add FUN now?
1. Smile. Just smile? Yes, sometimes smiling helps! Did you know people are actually trained to smile before making a difficult phone call? It can subtly change your voice – and the way people including grumpy ones interact with you.
2. Find a joke or a comic daily. Your local newspaper may carry comics. Hey, it can be the best part of some papers! Laughter is indeed good medicine.
3. Look for the humor in situations. It’s often easier to find once you start looking for it.
Need some additional help in finding FUN?
Maybe you’re ready for a prescription for healthy humor from “The Laugh Doctor”?
Find out how easy adding fun to your life is at
And see how adding fun helps you see the glass half full, living your life more optimistically.
Hey, you may even find you can tackle your challenges with new energy and enthusiasm!
To your healthy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr”