“Notes of a Caregiver”
Published by Steve Parrott, Owner, RetireEASE Senior Services
When more personal assistance is needed, Assisted Living Communities are a valuable Parent Care solution.
January 8, 2012
I often get asked the question by many families, “When is the right time to move mom or dad from home?”, but any response just seems to fall short of a perfect solution. For most seniors, the mindset is “Never!” In many of these cases, there is a family crisis, an emergency, where caregivers do not have an idea of what the next chapter will hold for their parents. There are no easy answers to this perplexing question and even more difficult to follow through once the decision has been made. I would like to share some of the more common conversations that I have had with some of my clients when debating this issue. Think about some of these tips the next time the topic comes up.
Question: My parents are resistant to the idea of moving into assisted living?
Tip: The outcome is a successful transition. You can’t force a senior to make a move from home into a facility and seniors have legal rights protecting them from such activity. Some of the first steps include have small conversations about the difficulties of the current situation and getting their agreement with issues at home. Caregivers that take a “baby step” approach seem to have a much better outcome than those that get the emotionally elevated. Also, begin to make frequent but short visits to different facilities to get parents used to the idea.
Question: How do we begin the difficult conversation with mom or dad that it’s time to go?
Tip: Seniors may be resistant to tell you the truth about how difficult living alone with a chronic illness has become for them. Families need to ask good questions and look for signs of aging. There maybe several indicators that some “slippage” is taking place. The hygiene, meals and medications are key areas to look for that parents maybe forgetting or having increase challenges to perform the task. You may hear in their conversations that they are becoming lonely or depressed due to isolation and a loss of friendships. One of the first signs of independence is the loss of driving and having the responsibility to get the car keys away. These signs of aging are a great starting point to discuss the future possibility of when is the right time to leave home.
Question: How to discuss the cost or burden of care for a parent to remain safely at home?
Tip: If you are strongly in favor of moving from home into an assisted living, many times you can get the senior to agree on the cost of remaining independent at home. It may help them arrive at a solution that you can both agree. One area is the financial cost to consider. For individuals that need 24/7 care in the home, the price tag can become very expensive especially if the outlook is long-term. The cost to move to assisted living may make preserving wealth a factor in the decision to stay or move. Stress on the caregivers is another big issue, particularly with dementia. Families need to be realist about the huge commitment to care for parents and talk about the need for assistance could mean leaving home. Home modifications, yard work, taxes, repairs are also discussion points that may help parents make the decision to leave home much easier.
Question: How to dispel the myths surrounding the nursing homes?
Tip: Seniors have many negative conceptions about long-term care facilities. They often believe that the food is bad, everyone is elderly and dying, will give up their privacy, and lose family and friends. Quite the contrary in today’s nursing centers, most of these factors are completely opposite of there reality. I suggest making a few visits to see family and friends that are at facilities. Make arrangements to have a meal or see a concert at some of the senior facilities around town. More than often, they will meet people that are more active and thriving with all the excellent meals, snack and activities that are available on a daily basis. Seniors in assisted living have more freedom to go out and participate in community activity without the fear of having to drive. The rooms are well designed and housekeeping is provided so that parents no longer worry with the upkeep of a large home. Healthcare services are provided based on the seniors level of care and reduces the worry on caregivers to provide these at home.
Some of my other great Tips:
Get people involved. Find individuals the senior has respect for to help in the conversation about the reality of staying home and why moving from home to a facility could be a solution to consider. Ask long time friends, the family doctor, relatives, and possibly community leaders involved? How can they help the decision?
Don’t wait for a crisis. When the emotions are at there highest, it is the worst time to make a quick and permanent decision to move from home. This is a source of many family disagreements and usually not all the siblings are on board with the decision to move mom and dad.
If we can assist you in care for your loved one at home, please contact us at 866-294-3273 or visit us on the web at www.retireease.com
RetireEASE Senior Services is one of South Carolina’s leading homecare services to seniors. RetireEASE provides assistance with non-medical companion caregivers to assist families of aging parents with the goal of helping them remain in their home and independent for as long as possible.