When it comes to living situations for aging adults, there are usually a variety of options available. In some cases, older adults can remain in their home in their golden years. Typically, in order to do this, retired adults will require support from family members or their community for chores and activities they can no longer perform alone.

For those with minor medical issues or who can no longer maintain a home, it is sometimes beneficial to live with children or other family members. For those with serious medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other progressive and degenerative diseases associated with aging, residency in a nursing home may be the only safe option for the future.

If you believe that a nursing home is the best choice for your parents, you may want to prepare yourself for discussing their future living arrangements before you attempt to broach the topic.

Family members can’t always provide adequate care

Many times, the biggest contributing factor to a family’s inability to keep an older adult in the home is concern about the standard of care. These concerns can stem from several issues.

If the child of an aging adult has children of their own, that may place too many demands on their time. Between shuttling the children to school and extracurricular activities, while also handling household needs and work, these individuals sandwiched between minor children and aging parents may not have adequate time to commit to helping their parents.

That can be difficult even if everyone in the family is healthy. If any of the children in the household have medical conditions or special needs, it may consume their parents’ time. The needs of the children may prevent the parents from providing care to the grandparents.

In other situations, the needs of the grandparents or older adults cause conflict or concern. When an adult in a family has serious medical issues, such as Alzheimer’s or a progressive disease, it may not be feasible to keep the older adults in the home safely. Concerns about wandering or perhaps not having adequate care in a moment of emergency could lead families to consider nursing homes as an alternative to in-home care.

People choose nursing homes because they care, not because they don’t

Those who have never been placed in the difficult position of attempting to care for both children and aging parents simply do not understand the demands that such a situation creates. No matter how much you love your parents, you obviously don’t want to put them in a situation where they do not receive adequate care or wind up exposed to unnecessary risk and danger.

If you find yourself considering nursing home placement for an aging loved one, do not fall into the guilt trap of thinking you are not doing enough. If you believe your loved one might benefit from a nursing home, it is likely because you worry that they will not have adequate oversight or care at your home or if living on their own. Many nursing homes have safe, clean facilities where your loved one can thrive.

While it may be difficult to start this conversation with your loved one, it is possible to have a realistic and compassionate discussion with an aging adult about whether staying at home is the best option for the family.