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How to cope elderly parent in nursing home

Community Member
Struggling hard my mother is end stage in a nursing home (they thought she would pass before Christmas). I am allowed to visit but feeling too guilty to do so. She never wanted to go to a nursing home, cannot remember that now, often doesn't remember me now. My siblings are interstate or overseas. Tried phoning Beyond Blue but got hung up on when I accidently muted call.
3 Replies 3

Community Member
Hi Coly,

I'm listening. I have thought a lot about how it must be for the elderly when they go into a nursing home. It's hard I believe. I recently had a mental breakdown and temporarily lost some of my faculties. If someone had said to me maybe a nursing home would be great for you right now I know I would absolutely say no. The loss of independence, my home, my comforts, my life is changed.

Unlikely to happen. I just explained it as I feel this is what elderly people go through. In saying that for some family members it's hard to put their elderly parents into a nursing home as well. Sometimes in life we just don't have the capacity to look after a parent. It does not mean we don't love nor care for them, it is just not in our capacity to do so. It sounds from what you write your mum really needed lots of care. She may not remember now, however your visits will help both of you even if she doesn't remember. I know it's tough. Unless there is another reason behind such heavy guilt, then perhaps go visit your mum and spend time with her near the end of your days. You never know that your guilt could be worked through that way. Seeing often how much care she needs might have meant it was the best choice for her to be fully taken care of and looked after. I hope this helped. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello ColY, and a warm welcome to the forums.

My Mum was in a nursing home for 10 years, an awful time for all of us that were involved and much resentment by some of my siblings why this had to happen.

Humans can be compassionate, caring and certainly empathetic but once the parent/s who have raised us, has to be looked after 24/7 by people you don't know and in surroundings that you might not agree with can be very upsetting, and although I dearly loved my Mum, the one reason we visited her was because of my (ex) wife.

I was in the same situation as you and felt horribly guilty for not wanting to visit her, even though we lived a couple of hours away because each time there was a difference in how she was and what she was unable to do.

I can't and don't want to encourage you to visit your mother, that's not my business, but know as my Mum has passed away a few years ago, that all I remember of her is how good she was at so many different qualities, but I was there in her last moments.

Please get back to us if you'd like, pleased to answer any new concerns.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi ColY

So sorry to hear of the deep struggle you face at the moment regarding your mum.

When it comes to nursing care it can definitely much easier when your parents have made the call themselves. Both my parents say 'Go for it, if need be', especially my mum who cared for her mum at home many years back. She still remembers the deep challenges and does not wish for her kids to face them alone, outside of aged care. She actually helped her sister in law work through the guilt of placing my uncle in nursing care before he passed. My mum's an amazing gal. I think part of the guilt comes from the long held belief 'Loyal and caring to the end no matter what'. Many at home carers suffer terribly through this mantra and the overwhelming challenges they face, instead of facing the best care for all concerned.

I work in an aged care facility and find some of the relationships between residents, staff and family members to be truly amazing. It becomes a joint caring effort. The challenges of aging are shared, not faced alone. Please try not to feel guilty about sharing the care responsibility, regarding a place that is equipped to face a variety of challenges. Such a place can be amazing in supporting families in the overwhelming challenges of facing a parent's passing. You also need care and consideration at this time. Perhaps, visiting where your mum lives is where you'll find it. Where I work, we are all thoughtful of the challenges that residents' kids face. Of course, it is difficult for us to fully understand unless we have experienced this for our self.

During this time of incredible social upheaval, while great consideration is given to family members who are permitted to enter care facilities, it is acknowledged that there are perhaps multiple emotional challenges surrounding the greatest one of all (facing a parent's passing).

My heart goes out to you ColY. This is definitely a time where you need support.

Take care