Mom Wants To Come Home From The Nursing Home…But Can’t

This isn’t a question that was posted to me by a subscriber…this is my problem.  My mother, who suffered a heart attack and is wheelchair bound, wants to come home from the nursing home but physically cannot perform any of the six Activities for Daily Living.  


For those who need a refresher, they are…


  • Bathing-she needs aides to get in and out of the shower
  • Toileting-she cannot get on and off of the toilet on her own and cannot wipe herself
  • Continence-she is incontinent at night because she cannot transfer in and out of bed to get to the toilet
  • Transferring-see above
  • Eating-she can eat on her own but cannot prepare her own meals
  • Dressing-she can’t get dressed on her own


So, because there are caregivers that are in the same situation as I am, I wanted to go over the steps that I am currently pursuing with the assistance of the nursing home staff to overcome this issue…


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Set The Bar


In order for Mom to be able to come home (even with the aid of a home health care aid) or to transfer to an assisted living facility, there are certain physical requirements she must hit.  Without being able to hit these requirements she has to stay at the nursing home.


Now, it is VERY important that this bar gets set by the nursing home staff and not by you.  Why?


Your parents have told you what to do their whole lives.  Now, you are asking them to accept the reverse situation…and I can tell you from first-hand experience that this doesn’t go over well.


My mother has already accused me of being happy she is in the nursing home and that I am trying to keep her there against her will.


So when it comes time, have the nursing home staff (I am currently working with a psychologist on the staff to get this information to me mother) set the bar and let her know what the physical requirements are.


Let The Staff Define The Program


In the same way that I am letting the staff establish the bar Mom has to hit, they are also going to be the ones who are going to lay out the rehab program Mom will have to pass in order to move to another facility.


The reason that I emphasize that is that currently my mother isn’t willing to do the work necessary in order to accomplish this.  She also isn’t willing to eat right and have the discipline to follow through on a weight loss program that will enable her to transfer and move around more easily.


What she is insistent on is the fact that she can lose the weight while at the same time calling us up to get her all the potato chips and life savers that she can possible consume.


Now, I mention this because we have already seen doctors who have told her that her weight is an issue…and that by losing weight she might be able to transfer on her own…and thus be able to move out of the nursing home.


But my mother wants to have her cake and eat it too…insisting she can be the first person in the history of the world to lose 50 pounds on the “potato chip diet”.


Obviously, this isn’t going to happen but in Mom’s world it is possible…and that leads me to step #3…


Put The Ball In Mom’s Court


Step #3 is all about personal responsibility.  Once the bar is set and the program is laid out, it is time to put the ball in Mom’s court. 


She now has to do what is expected of an assisted living facility, which carries with it a far less demanding level of care than a nursing home, or stay where she is.


The great advantage to this is that it puts the family, my brother and I, in the position of being the “good guys”…not telling her that she can’t come home…and putting all of the onus on Mom.


She will be given a program and told what types of physical therapy she needs to get and how she needs to eat on a daily basis to accomplish her goal.


She either will follow the program…or she won’t.


In either case, it is up to her.


And that is how you have to go about handling a situation such as this.




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