How to Help Family Members Make the Transition to a Nursing Home

Transitioning Into a Nursing HomeNursing homes aren’t where we want to be, with their shared rooms, late night interruptions, and institutional food. I have forced every member of my family to declare that “I will never put you in a nursing home”. But, at the same time, I know that at some point, hopefully late in my life, that my needs might overwhelm my family. So, in the end, I am grateful for quality nursing homes and the role they play in doing for people what many times, only they are equipped to do.

Being Present

People who have to move to a nursing home need their families and friends to be present to help with their transition. Advocate for your family member, and that starts with the selection of a facility. What a comfort to know that the nursing home you ended up in is the result of your family stepping in and investigating where to find quality care.

Consider the Alternative Message

Make good decisions. It is usually a family member who is serving as power of attorney or successor trustee that must investigate what help is available to pay for the cost of care. As a fiduciary, you are dealing with someone else’s money. You are accountable to them, and to their beneficiaries.

Be smart, be fair, and get expert legal advice from another advocate - an elder law attorney. Ask around and then zero in on a couple of candidates and set appointments to talk to them about what your family member can do to qualify for medicaid and to spot other legal issues. As a proactive fiduciary, you may be able to protect some of their assets, for themselves, their spouse, or their children.

Walt Shurden
Board Certified Elder Law Attorney