Remorse, doubt, anger, and confusion – these are the concomitants of the decision to place our loved ones in a nursing home. Whether it is a parent, sibling or a spouse, this decision never comes easily, and in the majority of cases, it is considered an option of last resort. But why do we find it so difficult to put our relatives in good hands and provide them with better care? Why do we feel guilty even when our guts tell us that this is the right thing to do?
So, where does this feeling of guilt come from, and how do we cope with it?
It is only natural that despite our conviction that placing an aging relative in a nursing home is beneficial for all persons involved, we continue to doubt and look for ways to justify our decision. This process becomes especially difficult when the idea of such placement is not initiated by the potential patient, and it remains up to us to consider it when we feel the lack of capacity to provide proper, round-the-clock care for them. In such a case, it is crucial that we cope with the daunting feeling of guilt long before we decide to bring up the idea and start discussing it with the aging person.
The main reason why even a fleeting thought of placing someone in a nursing home sends us on a guilt trip is that we have a tendency to perceive it as negligence and a quick way to ‘get rid of a problem.’ We do not want our relatives to feel as if they are being abandoned or forgotten and that is why we refuse to give in to such ideas. However, the stereotypes associated with nursing homes are far removed from reality and the seniors are usually pleasantly surprised by the staff, facilities, and standards of accommodation.
Is our misconception of the nursing homes stopping us from doing what is best for our aging relatives?
Nowadays, nursing homes are modern and equipped in such a way, so as to cater to the individual needs of all residents. The residents of such homes have the opportunity to participate in various activities and have access to different forms of entertainment which can be far more pleasurable than spending their days locked in a house, even if it is their own. Moreover, the seniors have a chance to interact with one another which may lead to establishing some strong bonds. Engaging in new friendships will help take their mind off illness and boost their mood. This is especially important when dealing with relatives who suffer from depression and anxiety as it may improve their mental stability.
By putting an aging relative in a nursing home we ensure that they receive proper care and remain under a doctor’s supervision 24/7. More often than not, the principal reason why we consider putting someone in a nursing home is their state of health. Whether the person considered is suffering from a serious illness which no longer allows them to function independently or simply needs help with receiving daily injections or taking medication, in a nursing home there is always someone whom they may turn to. Needless to say, the staff is trained specifically to care for the elderly in such a way that not even closest relatives can compete with.
So now that the decision has been made, what happens next?
All things considered, the decision to place an aging relative in a nursing home is one that requires a lot of time and needs to be well thought out by all persons involved. This is due to the fact that such placement entails not only additional expenditures but also some sacrifice on behalf of all family members. It is absolutely vital that the senior remains part of the family and does not feel left behind. That is why frequent visits and conversations are essential, especially during the transition period when the senior is still getting accustomed to the new environment. During that difficult time, it remains extremely important to keep reminding ourselves that our decision was driven by good intentions and strongly believe that only good will come out of it.
The testimony of Margaret M Posteraro a daughter of our current resident Josephine Montenigro.
To All the Sisters, Staff and Anyone They Share This With:
I am the daughter of Josephine Montenigro, a current resident of St. Joseph’s Senior Home, Assisted Living. My Mom has been at St. Joseph’s since March of 2017. Leaving her home in southern New Jersey after 35+ years was not easy and I, as her oldest child and her Health Care Proxy, felt her concerns as deeply as she did. Little did we know where this change would leave us.
There are many testimonials to the EXCELLENT care received at this facility, here is our story:
Mom has had two wonderful years so far at St. Joseph’s. Her health continues to decline (she is 91 now) but her spirit is as strong as ever. She still enjoys daily Mass and community dining. She participates in the ever-changing daily activities as she feels able. When she needs assistance with a particular task someone is always there to help her. She is consistently treated with respect and caring.
So, anyone reading this would think that, just like all the other stories, you can trust your loved one to the Sisters and Staff at Joseph’s. You would be correct BUT that is only HALF of the story. Because my Mom is a resident here, I too have been served by all of these fine people!
I have become more patient, more aware of my Mom and who she is, her simple needs and the blessings that were always there but not always recognized. I have been blessed with restful nights knowing Mom is safe and peaceful. I have been able to ask questions and receive kind, thoughtful helpful responses. I travel from Long Island to see Mom but the distance between us is just a phone call away anytime she, or I, need it.
Saturdays are my day to visit and we share peaceful walks and talks. Sometimes I wish I could stay and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere more for myself. The ride home for me is always peaceful no matter how Mom is feeling. That too is a blessing as visits can be hard when your loved one is declining.
Mom’s joyful spirit raises me and that is because the care for Mom includes care for me…the family member!
Thank you to ALL the Sisters, and Staff for all you do every day for the residents and their families. May God Bless All of You as He has Blessed Us!
Margaret (Peggy) Posteraro