When should I put my parents in a nursing home?


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When is it time for a Nursing Home?

We are often asked when is the best time to put parents into a Nursing Home or how do you know it is time that they need to be in one. Lots of adults will consider caring for their ageing parents at home, either at their own house or with regular visits to their home. It is estimated that Australia’s elderly population will reach over 6 million people by 2035 so it is why home based care is becoming more popular for many people (one of our areas of expertise)

It’s important to consider first if the care they are receiving is safe, enjoyable and creating a great living experience for everyone. Doing this can be stressful and exhausting over the long term. To help you determine whether caring for aged parents at home is right for you, we’ve listed five things you need to consider;

#1 How much nursing care do they need?

The best way to do this is to make a list of all the things that they need help with. You can start by just writing down all the things you already do for them and then ask yourself a few questions such as;

  1. Do they need help with daily tasks?
  2. Do they need constant supervision?
  3. Are they safe in the kitchen and bathroom?
  4. Is help needed during the day for things like showering and eating?


Once you have compiled this list, you can then make a few additional notes around whether or not your loved one is likely to need additional help in the future. For example, are they scheduled for surgery? Is movement and mobility likely to be a problem for them? Will you need to fit-out your home with safety rails and mobility aids?

#2 Be realistic about the nursing care you can offer

It’s natural to want to care for a loved one as they age and it can be very rewarding to give back to your parents for raising you. Those who do it successfully are realistic about how much care they can provide themselves without harming their own health.

Begin with a list of your commitments; employment, kids, travel, how much spare time do you have etc. Then turn to things like your own health and fitness needs? Writing out this list will help you realistically evaluate how much care you can provide without getting burned out.

#3 Understand what extra help is available.

We are always surprised that people don’t realise how much assistance is available. NDIS or other Government initiatives can help with the costs of getting extra help. House cleaning, washing, shopping or even showering. There are lots of options available from people like our team who have expert knowledge and experience.

#4 Share the responsibility

Sharing the responsibility of caregiving is a great idea, especially if you have siblings or close relatives who are willing to help. Many people who care for their aged parents at home have agreements with other family members around taking responsibility for set tasks. For example, perhaps another family member can visit at a set time every week to allow you to take a break. Or maybe a brother or sister could stay at your house for a week every now and then to allow you to get away on holiday. There are no fixed rules around this, but sharing the responsibility will almost certainly lessen the workload for you.

#5 How well equipped is the home with daily living aids?

Are things like drinking, showering and reaching difficult for your aging family member? You might like to think about the wide range of ease of living aids that are available for elderly adults. Stores like Independence Australia and Mobility Aids Australia stock many items that can make daily life easier and more manageable.

So it may be possible that you can take care of your parents without putting them into a Nursing Home. It will depend greatly on the answers to the questions above. It will be critical to find a balance between self help and using experts to make the job easier as this will reduce stress on the whole family unit.

A Nursing Home could be considered if all other alternatives have been exhausted.