The Emotional and Practical Aspects of Putting a Parent with Dementia in a Nursing Home

September 10, 2023

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The Emotional and Practical Aspects of Putting a Parent with Dementia in a Nursing Home


Making the decision to place a parent in a nursing home can be one of the most emotionally charged and complex decisions a family can face. When the parent has dementia, the situation can become even more complicated. This article aims to shed light on various aspects to consider when you're contemplating putting a parent with dementia in a nursing home.

Why The Need for Nursing Home Care?

Dementia is a progressive condition that affects cognitive function, memory, and day-to-day living skills. As the disease advances, the level of care required can become more than what can be provided at home. Frequent mood changes, wandering tendencies, and increased risk of falls are some of the many challenges that make nursing home care a safer option for some families.

Emotional Considerations

Guilt and Emotional Stress

Feelings of guilt and stress often accompany the decision to move a parent into a nursing home. It's essential to remind yourself that you are considering this option to provide the best care for your loved one.

Open Conversations

Maintaining an open line of communication with your parent, if possible, and other family members can help ease the emotional toll. Holding family meetings to discuss options can bring about collective decisions that are in the best interest of your parent.

Practical Aspects

Tour Potential Homes

Before making a final decision, tour various facilities to see what level of care they provide and whether they specialize in dementia care.

Legal Preparations

Consult with an elder law attorney to review any legal documents, such as power of attorney and medical directives, to ensure everything is in order.

Financial Planning

Putting a parent with dementia in a nursing home can be expensive. Discuss financial arrangements, review insurance policies, and explore if your parent is eligible for any government aid.

Family Support

Support from family members is invaluable when making this difficult decision. Whether it's helping to move your parent’s belongings, or simply providing emotional support, the role of the family cannot be underestimated.

Alternative Options

If nursing home placement isn’t immediately necessary, consider other options like home care services or adult day care. These alternatives can provide some relief for the family while postponing the need for a nursing home.


The decision of putting a parent with dementia in a nursing home is fraught with emotional and practical complexities. However, the underlying principle should always be to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one. Thorough research, legal preparation, and family support can make the transition as smooth as possible. As tough as the decision may be, sometimes it's the most loving choice you can make.

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