Tips for One of the Toughest Decisions: When It’s Time For Long-Term Care


“I used to worry how I’d know if it was time to move my husband into a nursing home,” says Sarah, “I saw him having more and more problems physically and cognitively, but only wanted to move him if it became necessary.”

It’s a common question many spouses unfortunately have to endure. In Sarah’s case, she had an aide come to their home three times a week, installed a chair lift so he wouldn’t have to climb the stairs, added a safety rail in the shower, and other measures to keep her husband safe at home. But eventually she knew it was time. “In a period of six months, he had been hospitalized four times for confusion and injuries from falls. It was clear to me I’d done everything I was able, but it was no longer safe for him to keep living at home.”

For Sarah, the relief was immediate. Her husband is now in a facility with 24-hour supervision, ensuring him greater safety. She’s come to appreciate that placing her husband in a nursing home wasn’t a failure on her part to keep him in their home, but as a loving and responsible act to provide him with the professional help necessary to give him the highest quality of life possible.

Now when people ask Sarah if a nursing home is right for their own loved ones, she gives them this advice:

The Standards Have Been Raised – The stigma towards nursing homes of past decades has caused many caregivers to say they won’t even consider one for their loved one. But times have changed and nursing homes provide a standard of care and quality of life that are greatly improved. Take the time to visit local nursing homes and see for yourself. This will give you the ability to know your options and preferences before an emergency requires a rushed decision.

Your Responsibility is to Provide the Right Care – The “right” plan should meet a loved one’s needs and take into account your own needs and capabilities. If the care that best meets that formula is nursing home placement, then that is the prudent choice for everyone. For example, if your loved one has an accident or a sudden downturn — for example, a broken hip or stroke — they are best off in a facility with professionals who are trained and able to help.

Your Loved One’s Home May Have Changed, But Your Love For Them Hasn’t – It takes time for everyone to adjust to the new living situation. You may find you now come home to an empty house and you don’t watch TV together. But you also no longer pick your loved one up off the carpeting or have to rush them to the emergency room. You can find fulfillment in taking care of your loved one by making sure their nursing home room is clean and decorated with things that will make them feel at home, visiting often, and knowing you’ve made the responsible and loving decision.

It’s a tough choice, but it’s easier when you have a long-term care policy designed to cover quality care and services and also helps to protect your retirement savings. Ask a skilled AMBA agent if a Long-Term Care policy, endorsed by your association, is right for you. Find out more by calling AMBA at 866-979-0497 or click to request a free Benefits Review.

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