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Moving Your Loved One into a Care Facility

How to Handle Criticism from Family and Friends

By Carol Simpson, At the Heart of Alzheimer’s

Occasionally, other family members or friends are critical of a decision to move your loved one into a care facility.  This can be frustrating, insulting, and guilt-provoking.  You don’t need them to make your life any more complicated than it already is. 

Your first impulse may be to tell them to mind their own business.  But this may alienate those very people who at other times have provided you with support and understanding.  Besides, if they love the person with Alzheimer’s too, it is their business.  They deserve to understand why a care facility is the best choice. 

To help you handle their criticism, take a deep breath and ask yourself what’s making them so critical:

  • Have you “protected” them from the more difficult aspects of caring for your loved one?
    If so, they simply may not understand what has been involved.  Perhaps it is time to share your feelings with them.  Let them in on how being a caregiver has affected you.  They care about you and don’t want to see you become burnt-out or ill.
  • Are they feeling guilty over their own inability to step in and take over care?
    Offer them reassurance that your loved one would not be best served by moving in with another family member.  Take the time to explain the difficulty you – or anyone else – would have meeting your loved one’s current needs for supervision, behavior management, medical care and/or physical assistance. 
  • Are they out of date in their thinking about the kind of care a nursing home can provide?
    In the past, nursing homes were not as well regulated as they are now, and medial science was not as knowledgeable about how to best provide for people with Alzheimer’s.  Assure them that things have changed and suggest that they come with you to see the facility so that they won’t be unnecessarily worried about what will happen to your loved one. 
If you have done your best to ease your friends’ or families’ concerns and they still disagree with your decision, remember, as primary caregiver you know best what your loved one needs.  You have provided quality care for months or years, and moving the person with Alzheimer’s to a nursing home is a continuation of that loving attention.