Somehow, “nursing home” has become two dirty words. No one wants to talk about them, no one wants to consider them, and people feel like they’ve failed in a way when they have to put a family member in one. But that shouldn’t be the case. Nursing homes can be wonderful environments that provide safety, care, and community. So we’ve found a few ways that you can begin this crucial discussion with someone important to you. Because it shouldn’t have to be as difficult as some make it out to be.

1. Bring a Recent Incident to the Forefront
An accident that is fresh in everyone’s memory can bring the need for a nursing home into the spotlight. So begin the discussion by asking your parent or loved one the details of what happened. And then discuss if there was anything that could have been done to avoid the situation? Could a helping hand have stopped the small kitchen fire? Could a close eye have avoided the slip and fall? Help show how a nursing home could keep them safe from future similar accidents and it can go a long way to an open discussion.

2. Give Due Attention to Noticed Signs
There are any number of signs that can alert you to the need for a nursing home. Small details like unexplained dents in the car, a change in body odor, and a collection of unopened social letters can be a warning that things are declining. Show compassion and concern as you point out some of the signs you’ve become aware of and why they worry you. Explain that you think a nursing home could help improve some of the situations that these signs raise flags regarding. Trust your gut when it comes to anything that looks out of place. It can make a difference.

3. Tell Them Their Needs are Valuable to You
Remember, you’re not locking your parent away or punishing them for being a nuisance. Deciding it’s time for a nursing home is an act of love. It’s for when you feel you are incapable of providing the constant time and attention needed to give the best care for the person you love. Stress that this is not a decision you are making for your own good but for theirs. You want what is best for their welfare and happiness and that you’ll do everything possible to make the situation as comfortable as you can.

4. Remain Respectful at All Times
Many seniors feel that nursing homes are insulting. They represent the inability to care for themselves. And they feel like they’re being sent to daycare like children. But that’s simply not the case. So, whatever you do, show that you respect them and that you do not look down on them. Treat your parent or loved one as a strong individual and simply explain your thought process and feelings. Don’t belittle them and it will go a long way in making the experience less stressful or even embarrassing.

Beginning this discussion does not have to be nerve-wracking, shameful, or difficult. This is a part of life and is a situation many people face today. If you are making this choice for the right reasons, and want to do this for the benefit of your loved one, then there’s nothing to feel bad about. Be strong and start the talk you know you need to have. You’re one step closer to the best living situation for your family. Nursing homes are there to help you. So take advantage of that help. Things will be looking up!