Why do people send their elderly parents to care home

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
87 posts
How to provide care for the elderly parents or other elderly people at home is a major concern for many of those who find it difficult to do so. Certainly, elderly people require good health care. They require good living environment. It is necessary to take care of every little thing about their personal hygiene and other things. But, today, families find it very difficult to be available 24/7. There could be many reasons which enforce the family members to take the decision of talking with their elderly parents (or the others who may not take care of themselves on their own) to turn to care homes for better health and much beautiful and independent life. Please share your valuable answer...


Edited to remove commercial link in the signature.
I would also add that, even if family were available 24/7, the physical and emotional toll is considerable.
My dad went into a home for what was to be the last eight months of his life. Even on the occasions I could be with him 24/7 (I had a job and lived 30 miles away), I could stop him from falling at any time of the day or night and needed to call on paramedics to lift him, check his blood pressure, attend to wounds and ambulance him to hospital when necessary.
At 93, he simply wasn't safe to life independently any more and his lack of mobility made him lonely and more and more relient on me. He recognised this too.
The love and care shown by the care home was amazing. I knew he was well cared for day and night, had interesting things to do and wasn't alone. He could join in as much or as little as he liked and I still called in and took him out whenever I could. He got to know the staff and they became familiar with his little ways. His passing was peaceful and full of respect. The staff looked after me in those final days too. I couldn't have done those last months without them. They let me become my dad's daughter again.
It's a very simple answer - it's their lives or ours. End of.

Caring for a helpless elderly person eats our lives. We have to dedicate each and every day to looking after another person, just as we do if we have a baby or a toddler.

Bad enough if the elder person is compos mentes, but physically frail. If they develop dementia it's an order of magnitude worse. Just read the posts on this forum to see what carers have to cope with!

One of the worst aspects of caring for the very frail elderly is that, alas, all too often they become incredibly 'self-focussed', even without dementia. That means they become increasingly incapable of understanding just how much work has to go in to keeping them alive and entertained. With dementia, that ability to realise that anyone else exists disappears completely. One might as well expect a toddler to say 'Thank you Mummy for all that you do for me every day!' - appreciation is no longer in their mental capability. That makes caring for them literally a thankless task - and incredibly aggravating for that reason!

Dementia patients can become terribly 'wilful' - they do what they want to do, they cannot be guided, or adapt their behaviour to be less 'anti-social' (eg, if they want to get up at 4 am they will, and not care that you desperately need to go on sleeping!).

I'm painting a grim picture, and of course not all elderly people are like this. My 91 y/o MIL is now in a dementia care home (to save my sanity, and give me my life back!). In comparison, my SIL's sister's MIL is the same age and living in a flat in the local village, sharp as a pin, can still get around, if slowly, and only needs (or rather wants - and it's mutual!) her adult son to pop in once a day with shopping, the newspaper, etc for a chat and a visit (and she comes and visits him and his wife as well regularly). She's totally, totally in a different situation from my poor sad MIL! THAT is the kind of extreme old we would all want!

I'm afraid, too, that you ask 'Why do PEOPLE send their elderly parents to care homes'.....the real question is 'Why do WOMEN send their elderly parents/inlaws to care homes'....because it is inevitably nearly always the WIVES AND DAUGHTERS who end up having to do the caring! (Not always, I know, and there are good men too who have to take on this role, but it is usually the females who bear the brunt of it!).

Whenever I hear government ministers preach about how the elderly should be cared for by their families, I want to yell at them 'OK, so YOU give up YOUR highly paid, satisfying career and become a poverty-stricken, home-bound non-stop DRUDGE to YOUR parents then! YOU get them up in the morning, shower them, dress them, feed them, entertain them, sit with them, feed them, take them out, take them to the doctors/hospital appointments, go shopping with them, feed them again, help them to bed, wake in the night, wake up early, deal with incontinence etc etce - YOU DO THAT MR DAMN MINISTER and see how long YOU last!'

Like I said right at the start of this - in the end, it comes down to our lives or theirs. (And I expect my son to say the same to me, when my time comes, if it does, which I hope, like all of us, it doesn't!)(Because we'll die before we need that level of care that consumes another's life.)
Well, if the OP seriously wants to understand the reasons why, they only have to read the many threads about dementia etc to understand.

On the other hand, if the OP's intention was just to be a goady troll, then perhaps it's best not to rise to the bait.
My mum was in sheltered housing before she went into care. Each time I visited her, the time would be taken up with cleaning her little flat and collecting her dirty washing, changing her sheets etc. She was always telling me to sit down to have a chat with her, but time was limited as I would go in after work before I had to collect my son from college then go home to make tea for us and my husband. When she eventually became unwell and had to go into a care home, my visits changed completely. I still kept to the same routine, going in the same days as previously, but now I could chat and tell her all the family news. We would have a laugh and she always enjoyed seeing the family. I also felt really guilty about putting her into care but she was very content there, safe and fed, and enjoyed the entertainment they laid on. I was able to go to some of their party nights and brought her to our house for xmas. Her last 2 years were spent being well looked after and I would always say to families in a similar situation not to feel bad that they can no longer care personally for their loved ones. The time comes when you have done your best and have to had over the care to others.
Economics is obviously part of it. Adults need to earn a living, and caring is unpaid and denies carers the chance to earn a living.
My parents are in their 90's and it works out better in many ways for them to have a live-in agency carer, and enjoy their own home and independence, so this is our solution. BOGOF: Two for the price of one!
As has already been stated, economics, other commitments such as work, children etc. However, some do manage to find the time to care for their elderly parents.

Should elder care also attract the same government benefits as as child care? It would be interesting to see if anyone has carried out a survey to see whether such a situation would actually save both the government, and the economy, money.

Or, is it a case that the government wants the care industry to create jobs, for the - sorry about this - unqualified, who can't find useful employment elsewhere? Call me a cynic, by all means! Elder care, and community care in general, is very poorly regulated.

This, unfortunately, is pretty much the case across the developed world, and is by no means unique to the UK.
Unlike most childcare though, elder care is not time limited and things don't improve, they get worse. The end point isn't independence from the carer but greater dependence and death.
I agree, elder care may continue for many years, and ultimately end in the inevitable. However, the same can be said of many unfortunate instances of complications at birth, genetics, illness and disease, accidents and other disabilities, acquired throughout life.

Many of the above attract greater funding, from both government sources and NGOs, than elder care.
I would say the economics of care-work, whoever it is that is being cared for (children, the disabled, the infirm elderly etc etc) boil down to three factors:

- is the care 24x7 (ie, 'hours of care' required) (ie, can the caree be 'left alone' for ANY length of time?)

- can the care be 'shared' - ie, can one carer care for more than one caree simultaneously (the obvious case is children - one mother can look after two/several children simultaneously!)

- the difference in wages between the care-worker and the 'family member' who would otherwise become the carer. (ie, if I can earn £20 an hour in my job, then I'm quids in if I only have to pay a care-worker £10 an hour) (BUT, I only earn £20 an hour for 8 hours work a day - and the careworker may need to be on duty 24x7, so the care per diem cost is far higher than my employment per diem wage!)

I would assume that it is the economics of 'shared care' that make the essential difference to the ultimate 'core cost' of care. Because even if care-workers were paid much more, if one care-worker can look after more than one caree, then their wages can stretch across more carees. Like in a school, the children don't get one-on-one tuition, they have to time-slice the teacher's attention, etc.
87 posts